March 2, 2021

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 2/17/2021

Florida retailers plead for sales tax collections on e-commerce

Florida retailers are urging lawmakers to require out-of-state online retailers to collect and pay sales tax on products sold to Floridians, saying that could only help state retailers, who already must do so. Retailers say it’s not about what Florida gets out of expanding the collections; it’s about Florida companies not having to compete with those who don’t pay Florida’s sales taxes. They said Florida gives a 6-8% advantage to their out-of-state competitors who are told they should be paying Florida’s sales taxes but aren’t because they’re not forced to do so. [Source: Florida Politics]

Winter storm delays vaccines headed for Florida

A winter storm that has pounded parts of the United States with slick roads and frigid temperatures may delay shipments of COVID-19 vaccines to the Sunshine State. The state’s Division of Emergency Management notified all county health departments that the severe weather could impact deliveries of coronavirus vaccine doses, according to Maggie Hall, a spokeswoman with the health department in Pinellas County. More from the Tampa Bay Times and WJXT.

Business liability bill heads to Florida House floor

A high-profile bill that would provide COVID-19 liability protections to businesses moved through its final House committee Tuesday in a 14-7 vote, after heated partisan debate and procedural maneuvering. Before passing the bill (HB 7), the House Judiciary Committee approved three amendments proposed by bill sponsor Lawrence McClure, R-Dover. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Cruises keep getting canceled due to the pandemic. Here’s the latest update

Cruises in the U.S. remain canceled well into 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As cruise companies work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to strengthen health and safety protocols in hopes of resuming passenger operations soon, they continue to cancel upcoming cruises. The CDC currently has a Level 4 travel warning in place for cruises — its highest level. [Source: Miami Herald]

The battle over redistricting — and control of Congress — will be fought in Central Florida

Florida Republicans could have the opportunity to completely redraw the congressional maps in their favor beginning in 2022, including potentially two new seats. New Census data showing big population increases in largely Democratic areas, including Central Florida, could tie their hands on any possible gerrymandering. But unlike the last redistricting a decade ago, conservative majorities on the Florida and U.S. Supreme courts might be more accepting of maps coming out of the GOP-controlled Legislature. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› Wesley Chapel gets high-end ‘movie theater of the future’
The former Cobb Theater in Wesley Chapel now features a new location for Side Splitters Comedy Club, spin bike classes in front of a movie screen, plush reclining seats, a sushi bar and an upscale bistro. Calling itself the “movie theater of the future,” new owner Mishorim Gold Properties and developer Mark Gold have invested millions of dollars into the renovation of what was once a Cobb Theater and Cinebistro.

› Tiny houses bring big opportunities for growth in Williston
Williston, Florida has a population of less than 3,000. But Homestead Tiny House Co. chose it as the location for a new tiny house resort that opened in July. Sales and marketing manager Chase Crandell said the “goal from the start was to pick a place that was going to become the new tiny house center of the Southeast.”

› Miami developer returns deposits as construction prices soar. Will others follow suit?
The developer of a Florida City residential project is giving early buyers their money back. Construction costs have risen so much, according to Brickless Developers, that it is raising prices by at least 20%. Homestead-based Brickless Developers is returning the 5% deposit to buyers who reserved units during pre-construction sales for its Grand Palms single-family home and townhouse development at 1100 Grand Palm Drive.

› Tampa’s Water Street district to expand, encompassing flour mill site
The Water Street Tampa district is poised for expansion, adding the 5-acre site of Ardent Mills on South Nebraska Avenue. The independent special district can charge its own assessments to pay for streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure serving the $3 billion Water Street Tampa mixed-use development from Strategic Property Partners.

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