Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida lawmakers not banking on federal government aid to fill budget holes
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic uncertainty have blown a $3.3 billion hole into the state’s budget projections for the next two years. That’s actually an improvement from what state economists first thought. Still, the state will need to find an extra $2.75 billion in the upcoming fiscal year, and the House appropriations committee chairman isn’t looking to the federal government for help. State economists say lawmakers will need to cut about $2 billion from the budget in the upcoming fiscal year, and healthcare and education—the two largest spending items—are already being eyed. More from WLRN.
You’re probably breaking Florida sales tax law and don’t even know it
Florida’s state tax law hasn’t caught up to the internet, leaving online shoppers regularly breaking the law without knowing it. “It makes them outlaws,” said Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, who is sponsoring a Florida House bill in the upcoming session that aims to modernize Florida’s sales tax law to make it more like the laws in nearly every other state. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Less work, less pay: South Florida hospitality workers scramble for jobs
A third of South Florida’s hospitality workforce is gone and the ones who are left are dealing with an industry tasked with protecting their bottom line, not so much the employee. That’s the reality for hundreds of thousands of industry workers, some mourning top-level careers or leaving hospitality behind altogether because of COVID-19. Even as the second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans kick off, industry insiders expect restaurants will not staff up to pre-pandemic levels. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Florida lawmaker files return-to-sender bill for rockets, other 'space vehicles'
If you stumble upon a used rocket, one Florida lawmaker from the Space Coast wants to make sure you call it in. State Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-Merritt Island, filed a bill (HB 221) this week that would prohibit anyone who happens upon a "space vehicle" on public or private property from keeping it. Finders also couldn't refuse to return it to the business entity that launched or owned it. More from the Tallahassee Democrat.
Large Silicon Valley tech firm moves headquarters to Tampa Bay area
In wooing a Silicon Valley cybersecurity company to move its headquarters to Tampa, the region both swatted away heavy competition and a rebuffed a long-standing myth about the Sunshine State. On the former, Benny Czarny, founder and CEO of the company that relocated its headquarters from San Francisco to Tampa, OPSWAT, says the firm looked at North Carolina and other sites. On the latter, Czarny, with experience working in Israel, California and other worldwide locales, says Florida isn’t what some non-Floridians might think — at least as a place to grow a business. More from the Business Observer.
South Florida 'mini fair' kicks off
The South Florida Fair starts Friday, and you can expect it to be different this year because of the pandemic. Organizers are dubbing it the “South Florida Mini Fair,” with the theme “Mini but Mighty!” The fair runs through Jan. 31 at the South Florida Fairgrounds. Overall, there will be fewer attractions and fewer people are expected.
» More from WPEC.
Greedy Spoon seafood restaurant planned for Jacksonville
Seafood runs in the family for restaurateur Marilyn Craig. Her grandfather was a commercial fisherman in Mayport, her great-grandfather was the first African American to own a seafood distribution company there and her brother is a commercial shrimper. So when Craig decided to leave a job as a financial aid adviser and start a restaurant, it made sense to combine her joy of cooking with her family’s passion for seafood.
» Read more from the Jacksonville Daily Record.
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