December 12, 2019

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 7/12/2019

Banks clear stress tests; some of the record profits flow to shareholders

The nation’s major banks passed their annual stress tests last month, reaffirming their ability to survive a serious economic downturn. It also freed them up to pass along some of their record profits to shareholders, which several of them immediately did through stock buybacks and dividends. The fact that all 18 of the major banks cleared the stress tests reflects how far the nation’s banking system has recovered from the Great Recession, when more than 500 banks collapsed. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Enrollment in program to aid needy families declines

State economists on Thursday concluded that the number of people being served by the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program continues to be lower than expected. Lawmakers planned to spend $144.1 million on the program for the fiscal year that ended June 30, expecting a caseload of about 44,970 enrollees. But instead, the state’s caseload was about 40,500, costing an estimated $130 million, the economists decided during a Thursday morning meeting. The final number of enrollees — and the exact cost of the program — weren’t immediately available. [Source: WOFL]

FDOT hiding how much it’s losing on SunPass Saga

Poor collection rates could cost taxpayers, threaten bond ratings. Florida’s SunPass collapse didn’t just create a technological and customer service nightmare, it created a collections issue as well, as huge backlogs and error rates have prohibited the state from collecting all of the toll revenues it is due. It’s unclear whether the problems, which could amount to tens of millions of dollars in undercollections, will come at the expense of state contractor Conduent or taxpayers. [Source: Florida Politics]

Florida hospitals eye new transplant programs

It’s been less than two weeks since Florida jettisoned some long-standing regulations for hospitals, but several facilities across the state are already gearing up to expand medically complex services, such as transplants. For the last two years, five hospitals have shown an interest in offering new high-end services, but they were unable to do so because of the state’s “certificate-of-need” requirements. [Source: Health News Florida]

Florida Trend Exclusive

Coconut Grove's growing commercial sector

Coconut Grove, which borders Biscayne Bay south of downtown, is one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods. Its eastern areas have remained desirable, if pricey, places to live for the past two decades, but its commercial fortunes have risen and fallen. Recently, however, the area has been re-emerging as a retail, office and tourist destination.  [Source: Florida Trend]

Universal opens first budget hotel, Surfside Inn and Suites

Universal Orlando recently opened its seventh hotel, targeting families on a budget by offering more affordable suites with on-site theme park privileges. Called Universal’s Surfside Inn and Suites, the 750-room, surf-themed hotel is the first in the park’s “value” category. It is the first phase of what will be called the Endless Summer Resort, occupying the space on International Drive that used to house the Universal-owned Wet ’n Wild water park. Next up is the Dockside Inn and Suites, the second phase of the Endless Summer Resort, which opens in two stages in 2020, adding another 2,050 rooms. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Universal opens first budget hotel, Surfside Inn and Suites
Nearly 200 investors poured $99.5 million into the mixed-use project on Indiantown Road, through the federal EB-5 program that grants U.S. visas to investors.

› Harbourside Place’s foreign investors: Cranky or defrauded?
Nearly 200 investors poured $99.5 million into the mixed-use project on Indiantown Road, through the federal EB-5 program that grants U.S. visas to investors. Are dozens of Chinese investors suing Jupiter’s Harbourside Place ripped-off victims — or cranky financiers?

› Coalition boosts coffers of fund for advanced manufacturers
An additional $500,000 is available to help turn high-tech research into products. There’s more to commerce in Florida than tourism, and an investment partnership among three of the state’s leading universities aims to reward the up-and-coming companies that key the Sunshine State’s future economic diversity.

› Florida city plans to sue over sanctuary policy ban
The city of South Miami plans to sue Florida over a new law that bans local governments from enacting “sanctuary” policies. The mayor and city commissioners voted unanimously during a special meeting Tuesday to join legal action being prepared by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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