Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Is Florida’s economy “softening”?
State economists this week revised their forecast of the Florida economy, noting indications of “softening” as the national economic expansion — the longest on record — begins to wind down. The chief indicator is a decline in new construction. The last time Florida’s economy saw such a decline was just before the Great Recession, which hit the state particularly hard. The current decline, however, appears much more muted. More from Spectrum News.
Florida continues computer science push, hoping to train more teachers, enroll more high school students
The field of computer science offers plenty of well-paying jobs, but less than 1 percent of the undergraduates enrolled in Florida’s universities earned degrees in that major last year. State leaders hope a new $10 million investment to train more computer science teachers -- the largest in the nation -- and new flexibility in course requirements will help get more teenagers into computer science classes in high school and persuade them to stick with the subject once in college. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Gainesville leaders to set property tax cap
Elected leaders are gearing up to set the tax increases that Gainesville residents will soon feel in the coming months. The Gainesville City Commission at Thursday’s meeting will vote again on increasing property taxes by as much as 11.5% and to hike the fire assessment fee up to 32% to cover the city’s budget deficit. They recently agreed to increase utility electric rates by 6.4% starting Oct. 1. More from the Gainesville Sun.
CEOs consider whether Miami is the ideal spot for a soccer team and stadium
South Florida CEOs were asked: Does Miami need a soccer team — and if so, should the city be leasing out land to a private entity to build a stadium? Maurice R. Ferré, CEO, chairman, INSIGHTEC, says, "Miami is an international city and soccer is definitely one of the fastest growing new sports here in America. As a hub for Latin America and connector to Europe, it’s logical that Miami have a world class soccer franchise." More from the Miami Herald.
Sarasota-Manatee home prices rise to near pre-recession peaks
After wild swings before and after the economic downturn, home prices are inching closer to their pre-recession peaks in the Sarasota-Manatee County region. Single-family homes and condominiums sold for a median $260,000 in the two-county area during the second quarter of 2019, a 4% increase over the year, according to a new report from real estate researcher ATTOM Data Solutions. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Around the State
A Florida lottery winner sues
In 2013, Gloria Mackenzie, then 84, became the single largest Powerball winner in U.S. history when she claimed a $590.5-million jackpot. Mackenzie, a widow, took a lump sum payment of $371 million ($278 million after taxes), split the fortune with her son, Jacksonville resident Scott Mackenzie, and gave him power of attorney over her finances. Now 90, Mackenzie has sued her son for allegedly mismanaging her money.
» More from Florida Trend.
Out of the Box
Florida city hopes ‘Baby Shark’ song will drive homeless away
Officials in West Palm Beach are hoping a continuous loop of children’s songs played throughout the night will keep homeless people from sleeping on the patio of a city-owned rental banquet facility. West Palm Beach parks and recreation director Leah Rockwell tells the Palm Beach Post they’re trying to discourage people from sleeping outside the glass-walled Waterfront Lake Pavilion, which she says rakes in some $240,000 annually from events. The loop of “Baby Shark” and “Raining Tacos” is a temporary fix to keep homeless people off the patio.
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