September 25, 2021

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/15/2021

Florida tax revenues soar by 24% past expectations in July

Bolstered in part by people continuing to spend down savings amassed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida general-revenue collections exceeded expectations by 24 percent in July. Collections of revenue such as sales taxes were $619.8 million above what state economists projected in April, according to a report released Monday by the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research. The July figures, which reflect economic activity that mostly occurred in June, benefited from the most-recent round of federal stimulus checks, redirected spending from the hard-hit service sector and some consumers drawing upon “atypically large savings” built up during the pandemic, the report said. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Many hotels are rethinking strategy as the return of business travel stalls

The days and weeks following Labor Day were predicted to be when employees began returning to the office and business travelers were restarting their old routines again.  The rise of COVID-19 cases put many big business plans on hold which is also leading to a delay in business travel. It’s not clear when that will resume or if new video conferencing technologies will take the place of travel for some companies. [Source: Bay News 9]

Florida to end high-stakes FSA exams, replace with progress monitoring, DeSantis says

Florida plans to scrap its end-of-the year, high-stakes standardized tests replacing them with the short “check-in” assessments, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday, a dramatic shift that would align the state’s Republican leadership with the position long advocated by many educators. “This is a big deal,” DeSantis said during an announcement at a school in South Florida. If approved by the Florida Legislature, the Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA, would be administered for the last time this coming spring. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

State seeks to nix challenge to 'intellectual freedom' law

Saying plaintiffs have offered a “parade of horribles,” attorneys for the state want a federal judge to toss out a challenge to a new law that requires conducting surveys on Florida college and university campuses about “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity.” In a 34-page motion filed last week, the state fired back at arguments by faculty members, students and groups that the law (HB 233), passed in April by the Republican-controlled Legislature, violates free-speech rights and is ideologically driven. [Source: News Service of Florida]

4 space tourists are ready for a Florida launch. Who are they and where are they going?

For the first time in 60 years of human spaceflight, a rocket is poised to blast into orbit with no professional astronauts on board, only four tourists. SpaceX’s first private flight will be led by a 38-year-old entrepreneur who’s bankrolling the entire trip. He’s taking two sweepstakes winners with him on the three-day, round-the-world trip, along with a health care worker who survived childhood cancer. [Source: Miami Herald]

Nicklaus Children's Hospital ‘Project Baby Manatee' | Advanced genomics cuts diagnostic delays & costs

When a child is born with symptoms so rare that they confound doctors, or an older child develops an acute medical condition few health care professionals have treated before, it can cause needless suffering for the child and tremendous anxiety or depression for parents powerless to help. If this “diagnostic odyssey” drags on for months, even years, it can cost the health care system untold millions of dollars. [Sponsored report]


› Startup behind ‘WaterCube,’ aimed at water scarcity, picks Tampa for HQ
An environmental startup behind a device that purports to pull water out of thin air is moving its global headquarters to Tampa. Genesis Systems on Tuesday announced its relocation from Kansas City to Tampa with the first public demonstration of its WaterCube, a machine designed to combat global water scarcity by generating water from the atmosphere, even in arid regions.

› Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que closes original Winter Park store
Citing the pandemic and trouble finding workers, Bubbalou’s Bodacious Bar-B-Que has closed its original Winter Park restaurant but will remain open in other spots. Ownership of the restaurant, which opened in 1986, revealed the closure at 1471 Lee Road in Winter Park in a Facebook post. The store’s employees are moving to the Apopka location at 1701 Rock Springs Road.

› Inter Miami expected to name cryptocurrency company as major jersey sponsor Wednesday
At long last Inter Miami is expected to get a jersey sponsor. The club sent out a media advisory that a “Historic Partnership Announcement” will be made at DRV PNK Stadium Wednesday night, and multiple sources said it will be a jersey sponsor deal. Inter Miami and the Colorado Rapids are the only two of 27 MLS teams that do not have a major shirt sponsor. Miami’s training gear and stadium are sponsored by AutoNation, and Baptist Health has had its logo on team sleeves.

› Biggest and most anticipated store and restaurant openings in Sarasota-Manatee in 2021 so far
After a year of shutdowns, delays and cancelations, the Sarasota-Manatee economy has had a much better 2021. Stores and restaurants opened, businesses added jobs and visitors came back to the area – at least from the surrounding U.S. states. There have been a couple of interesting and notable retail openings so far in 2021, but there's also a lot to look forward to.

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