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What You Need to Know About Florida Today

| 4/20/2009

MONDAY, APRIL 20, 2009

Despite Economy, Developers Still Want to Build

Florida Small Business
News and how-to information for business owners, managers and entrepreneurs.

10 Sectors Poised for Growth
It sounds like a joke, given all the news, but some sectors are growing.
Get Your Hands on Stimulus Money
SBE Council Ranks State Tax Systems
Survey: Florida Business Owners Gave Grim Economic Outlook
SBA Help Not Getting Through to Businesses

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A development boom is brewing under the radar of Floridians distracted by deteriorating real estate values and record foreclosures. The state is processing an unprecedented number of proposals for new homes and commercial development. If approved, these projects could pump more than 600,000 rooftops onto a market suffering from a surplus of product and slowdown in population growth. Read on... [Source: St. Petersburg Times]

» Fort Myers: Filled with several stalled developments
» W. Palm Beach:
Decreases in home inventory are helping some developments more than others

Expedia Vows Less Florida Marketing if State Raises Web Taxes

Expedia Inc. says it has spent more than $20 million during the past 12 months on " Florida-specific" advertising, including television commercials, radio spots, and online banners and key words. But the company also says that figure could drop if the Florida Legislature forges ahead with plans to make online travel agencies collect and pay taxes on the full hotel rate they charge consumers — rather than their current practice of paying taxes only on the lower rate they negotiate with hotels. That pushback came as support built in the Florida Senate to collect hotel and sales taxes on the higher rate. Florida's counties have argued for years that the online travel industry should already be paying at the full rate. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Today's legislative roundup

Florida's Unemployment Rises But Is Lowest Uptick in 15 Months

After months of shedding jobs at a breakneck pace, Florida's economy took a break from its freefall in March with unemployment inching up just slightly to 9.7% from a revised 9.6% a month earlier. Few are predicting that Florida is poised for recovery or even bottoming out just yet. But along with the easing of credit and rising bank profits, the job numbers released Friday were a welcome sign of moderation in a recession highlighted by extreme losses, especially on the job front, with the state losing more than 400,000 jobs the past 12 months.[Source: St. Petersburg Times]

Frank Gehry Feuding Over New World Symphony Project

Celebrated architect Frank Gehry said he won't design a park for his concert hall for the New World Symphony, citing frustration over Miami Beach's handling of the project. It all boils down to this: Frank Gehry doesn't work cheap. And the city, balking at Gehry's fee for the park blueprint and facing a $2 million overrun on the garage, asked the New World Symphony to get him to reduce his fee or replace him with a less-costly designer. [Source: Miami Herald]

» From Trend: New World Symphony: Closing the distance


› 21 Horses Die Before Polo Match
Twenty-one horses are confirmed dead after collapsing before a polo match Sunday, a team veterinarian said this morning, adding that it was unlikely the culprit is performance-enhancing drugs.

› Banned Chemical Found in Oysters from St. Johns County

The discovery of the fire-retardant chemical was found in oysters in the Matanzas River near Crescent Beach.

› Okaloosa's Tarnished Image
Indictment of former House speaker Ray Sansom and Bob Richburg is more bad news for Okaloosa County. Times editorial: A message to the powerful | In Sansom indictment, grand jury reports current system a recipe for cronyism

› Of Florida's 13 in Fortune 500, Publix Is Tops

In Florida, 13 corporations headquartered in the state made the Fortune 500 list, led by Lakeland’s Publix Super Markets at No. 101, up from No. 107. Publix, with 2008 revenues of just over $24.1 billion squeezed past Clearwater-based Tech Data Corp. by a mere $29 million as Florida’s biggest corporation.

› Foreclosures Pounding Court Clerks with Paperwork

With foreclosures now making up 70% of all civil cases filed in Hillsborough, the courthouse is swamped with paperwork that needs to be stamped, recorded, scanned, shelved and then retrieved for judicial hearings and auctions.

› Harris Will Bring Its Magic to Orlando's New Arena
Harris Corp. and the Orlando Magic have agreed to a multiyear deal in which the Melbourne-based company will become the official technology provider at the new Orlando Events Center.

› Florida AG's Office to be Featured on Oprah Today

The episode involving Bill McCollum's efforts to protect kids from online predators will air today.

› State Lawmakers Rake in Campaign Cash

Politicians in the state Capitol started the year with a fundraising bang by pulling in almost $4 million in just three months.

› Florida's Footprint
Florida is one of the nation's biggest producers of carbon dioxide from power plants, ranking fourth in a recent report by an environmental group. Here's the numbers.

› The 'White House Boys' Demand State Action They were screwed-up kids, sent to the reform school in Marianna for smoking, fighting, stealing cars or worse. The Florida School for Boys -- that'd straighten them out. Fifty years later they are, by their own account, screwed-up men -- afraid of the dark, unable to love or be loved, twisted by anger, scarred by the whippings they endured in a cinder block hell called the White House. Now, Gov. Charlie Crist has ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate 31 graves near the school.

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