November 27, 2021

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 10/19/2021

Florida's unemployment fund gets boost from online sales tax

Florida’s unemployment trust fund has gained back about a half-billion dollars since a new law began requiring out-of-state online retailers in July to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians. The trust fund, which was depleted because of massive job losses early in the COVID-19 pandemic, now tops $1.3 billion, Adrienne Johnston, chief economist for the Department of Economic Opportunity, told the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Monday. The fund, which had a little more than $4 billion before the pandemic in January 2020, was at around $800 million in July 2021. Johnston said $526 million was transferred into the trust fund in August and early September. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida lawmakers are fighting to restore endangered species status for manatees

The DeSantis administration is asking state lawmakers to allow it to spend nearly $4 million to help Florida’s suffering manatees, which have been dying of starvation at a frightening rate. Deaths could rise further over the approaching winter months. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes $3.8 million designated as aid for manatees, the cow-size, aquatic mammals that feed gracefully on Florida’s seagrasses. [Source: WUFT]

Annette Taddeo launches campaign to be Florida’s first Latina governor

After months of open speculation and exploratory meetings around the state, Miami state Sen. Annette Taddeo is making it official: she is running to be Florida’s next governor. Taddeo, 54, filed campaign documents with Florida’s Division of Elections on Monday morning. Her entry shakes up a Democratic field that has been dominated so far by two front-runners — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — as they vie to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. More from the  Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Gas prices in Florida are about to hit their highest levels of the year

While gas prices in Florida inched up in the last week, another steep rise could be on the way. According to AAA, the average price of gas increased by only a half-cent over the previous week. But crude and gas futures prices rose to their highest levels of the year, with Friday's price of $82.28 a barrel an increase of $3 from a week earlier. That increase is expected to be passed on to consumers. [Source: WUSF]

Vacation rental issue re-emerges in legislature

The bills say, in part, that the regulation of online vacation-rental platforms “is preempted to the state,” which would take away local authority to regulate platforms such as Airbnb. It would allow local governments to require the registration of vacation rental properties. Cities and counties have fought past vacation-rental bills, arguing that they should have regulatory authority. [Source: News Service of Florida]


› Florida task force makes recommendations on condo safety
Florida legislators should overhaul the state’s condominium laws in the wake of the Surfside building collapse that killed 98 to address inspections, ensuring proper reserves are in place to make major safety repairs and other issues, according to a task force report prepared by a section of the Florida Bar.

› DeSantis awards more 'job growth' money
Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to dole out money from the state’s Job Growth Grant Fund on Monday. DeSantis awarded $6 million to Hernando County for manufacturing, education, health-care and aviation vocational training programs at Pasco-Hernando State College and another $6 million to widen an entry road to the 300-acre Gov. Rick Scott Industrial Park in Sumter County.

› Disney Imagineers see a world of new possibilities in giving customers what they want
Walt Disney was always a step ahead of others in the entertainment industry, from pioneering animation and live-action films to revolutionizing theme parks. He dreamed others would carry on his legacy of using the latest technologies to enhance the Walt Disney Co.’s storytelling, something Imagineers — members of Disney’s various creative teams — strive to do to this day, said Stacia Martin, an artist and historian with The Walt Disney Co.

› Jim Moran Foundation to build new headquarters in Fort Lauderdale
The Jim Moran Foundation, the philanthropic organization founded by the late South Florida auto mogul, announced Monday it will build a new headquarters next year in Fort Lauderdale. The foundation said it bought more than 2.4 acres of vacant land for $9.8 million to build a 50,000 square-foot headquarters at 4545 North Federal Highway to the south of Holy Cross Hospital. Construction is scheduled to start next year.

Trend Mention

Mention ImageUF research spending at record $942.2 million in 2020 despite pandemic

UF Research spending reached a record $942.2 million in fiscal year 2020, despite a two-month pause in most operations due to the pandemic. According to a new report to the National Science Foundation, research expenditures supported by the federal government increased to $397.2 million, while state and local expenditures increased to $169.2 million. Learn about ongoing UF research in areas such as Alzheimer’s, early childhood learning and agriculture.

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