December 10, 2023

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/22/2023

Florida minimum wage scheduled to increase

The Florida minimum wage is scheduled to increase by the end of this month. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Floridians will see an increase of $1 on Sept. 30, taking the minimum wage from $11 to $12. Tipped employees will see their required cash wage increased to $8.98, per the Florida Restuarant & Lodging Association. More from WTSP and the News Service of Florida.

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Economic backbone: Solar surge

The Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), which supplies wholesale power to the state's municipal utilities, and Origis Energy are aiming to quadruple the power generated via solar farms. By the end of 2026, the Florida Municipal Solar Project will consist of more than 1.8 million panels installed on eight farms. [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida families say school vouchers are unpaid, causing major disruption

It’s a situation being played out across Florida, as private schools and families scramble to make ends meet amid the growing pains of the state’s expanded voucher program. Lawmakers lifted the eligibility requirements for the system, leading to a doubling of participation this fall to more than 400,000 children. The disruption appears to have affected thousands of students, while parents and school officials say they have been unable to get answers from those in charge of the $4 billion voucher system. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

State will help cover costs for farm irrigation fixes following Hurricane Idalia

The state is set to shoulder some of the costs of work undertaken by Florida farmers in the wake of Hurricane Idalia. Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson rolled out an expense-sharing program that will reimburse select producers who — as a result of Idalia — are making repairs to existing irrigation systems. Eligibility will depend in part on the nature of the repairs, insurance status, management practices and each farm’s compliance with certain regulations. [Source: Florida Politics]


› First private US passenger rail line in 100 years is about to link Miami and Orlando at high speed
The first big test of whether privately owned high-speed passenger train service can prosper in the United States will launch Friday when Florida’s Brightline begins running trains between Miami and Orlando, reaching speeds of 125 mph (200 kph). It’s a $5 billion bet Brightline’s owner, Fortress Investment Group, is making, believing that eventually 8 million people annually will take the 3.5-hour, 235-mile (378-kilometer) trip between the state’s biggest tourist hubs.

› Foreclosures spike in South Florida, report says. Here's why.
Foreclosure actions in South Florida have recently spiked, according to figures from Attom, an Irving, California-based curator of real estate data. As of August, there were 994 foreclosure actions in South Florida, an increase of 51% from July and up 10% year-over-year from August 2022, Attom figures indicate.

› Port Canaveral budget for 2024 doubles down on record 2023
Port Canaveral expects to build on what’s already been a record revenue year with its proposed budget for 2024 while also sinking nearly as much money as it will be taking in for capital projects. The proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2023, and runs through Sept. 30, 2024 forecasts operating revenue of nearly $190 million, which is likely to be close to the final numbers that come in at the close of fiscal 2023 at the end of this month.

› PACE loses bid to operate again in Hillsborough County
A home-energy loan program scrutinized for saddling people with unanticipated debt won’t be restarting its business in Hillsborough County, a circuit court judge ruled this week. The Hillsborough County Commission banned the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, known commonly as PACE, from operating locally in 2020 amid complaints that it took advantage of elderly and low-income residents.

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