March 24, 2023

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 3/15/2023

State gets $7 billion revenue bump

Economists added more than $7 billion to the state’s general-revenue forecast for the current fiscal year and next fiscal year, despite concerns about housing struggles, lingering inflation and a “mild” recession. The forecast, completed late Monday, will give lawmakers more money to play with as they piece together a budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, which will start in July. General revenue plays a critical role in funding programs such as education, health care and prisons. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Pythons, invasive and hungry, are making their way north in Florida

So much for all the efforts to slow the proliferation of Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades over the last two decades, including with paid contractors, trained volunteers and an annual hunt that has drawn participants from as far as Latvia: The giant snakes have been making their way north, reaching West Palm Beach and Fort Myers and threatening ever-larger stretches of the ecosystem. [Source: New York Times]

Bank collapse has some Florida business owners on edge

Silicon Valley Bank in California collapsed on Friday forcing the United States federal government to step in and guarantee that customers get their deposits back, making it the biggest U.S. bank failure since the global financial crisis in 2008. The billions invested in the bank include funds from major companies such as Etsy, which is an online marketplace with millions of sellers. [Source: News 4 Jax]

Record Florida temperatures help keep tomato supply plentiful

Florida continues to have ample supplies of tomatoes thanks in part to warmer temperatures in the state -- the end of February saw record temperatures throughout parts of Florida. At the same time, Mexico has started its season short and for now, a sizeable amount of supply is staying in areas such as Mexico City due to the high demand for tomatoes in that region. [Source: Fresh Plaza]

Audit finds Florida's foster care system didn't properly report missing children

An audit recently released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General gave the state of Florida low marks for its stewardship of children in its foster care system. The OIG audit found that state agencies were failing to properly report missing foster care children in accordance with federal law and some didn’t report them missing at all. [Source: The Center Square]


› Florida homeowners are in the dark about flood insurance, expert says
After the back-to-back named storms last year left billions of dollars in flood losses across Florida, one organization is warning that major reforms are needed to government regulations and flood insurance, especially inland as climate change makes storms wetter and more powerful. As of January, FEMA, which administers the National Flood Insurance Program, has paid out more than $2 billion of a projected $5.3 billion in flood claims from Hurricane Ian, according to the agency.

› Big push to train workers for lucrative jobs in Miami’s growing technology arena
Christopher Matthews is one of more than 100 Miami Dade students, and among countless others in South Florida, looking and hoping to find satisfying, good-paying jobs provided by the explosive growth in Miami’s technology and finance sectors. The AI class he’s taking is part of an expanding tech curriculum the college is offering thanks to securing $15 million early last year in private and public funding.

› Gasparilla Film Fest brings celebrities and movies to Tampa
The Gasparilla International Film Festival is back for its 16th year with nearly 75 independent movies being screened throughout Tampa from March 23-26. There are feature films and short films. There are documentary films and narrative films. There are films made in Tampa and films shot internationally. And there will be celebrities and filmmakers in attendance. Lots of them.

› Renting still better than buying a home in Palm Beach County but the gap is narrowing
The gap between whether it’s fiscally better to rent or buy is narrowing in South Florida, but experts say signing a lease still holds an economic advantage over signing a mortgage. Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties came in 62nd in a report on the nation's top 100 housing markets in which the higher the ranking, the more equal the monetary benefits are between renting and buying.

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