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Friday's Daily Pulse

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Florida regions by the numbers

From Key West to the Great Northwest and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, Florida is an exhilarating mix of cutting-edge innovation and easy, laid-back lifestyle. Across this state's eight regions and 67 counties, companies of every size and in every industry sector have found the business climate, workforce and global connections they need to compete in an international marketplace. Businesses looking to relocate to Florida need look no further than our interactive guide to Florida regions by the numbers.

Florida facing another $2 billion budget shortfall

Senate President Mike Haridopolos said Thursday that the state is facing another multibillion-dollar budget shortfall, and the public can expect another year of deep cuts to government programs and services. Speaking with reporters, he refused to rule out more cuts to public schools — which absorbed a $1.3 billion cut last year, or nearly 8 percent of their per-pupil funding. "I don't think anyone took any glee in the cuts we had to make last year," the Merritt Island Republican said. But, he added, "We can't afford the government we used to have, so we're making adjustments." [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

COMMENTARY: Unemployed workers couldn't care less if NBA cancels season

They say we're supposed to be concerned about the NBA possibly canceling the first few weeks of the regular season. I'm not concerned. Are you concerned? "I could not be less concerned," says Amelia Anderson, an unemployed secretary as she is about to enter the Workforce Central Florida building in hopes that she might be able to finally find a job. "I'm just trying to figure out a way to pay my rent and my light bill." [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Young adults face tough climb in poor economy

They're 20-somethings, adults. But in a poor economy, the traditional passages to adulthood are increasingly elusive. Some can't find work. Those who have jobs may be underemployed. And for many, student debt makes it hard to save for a house. Many can't afford a place by themselves, living with a roommate or their parents. "The opportunities that were given to the generation before me were taken away," said Mike Cotugno, 23, of Boca Raton, who says he dropped out of college because he couldn't afford it. He's not even sure a college degree is worth the cost, pointing to a restaurant co-worker who earned a degree in molecular biology, but can't find a job. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

USF trustees stand against Poly split

The governing board of the University of South Florida said Thursday it opposes efforts to make USF's regional campus in Lakeland an independent school. But if USF Polytechnic does split and becomes the state's 12th university, state leaders should ensure USF recoups at least some of the investment it already has made in the school, board members said. [Source: St. Petersburg Times]
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› Economist gives SFC audience tips on succeeding in this economy
Economist Brian Beaulieu predicts that the global economy will go into recession twice more before the decade is over, but said there are still opportunities for businesses to grow by investing in recession-proof industries, growing states and nations, and by borrowing at today's low interest rates. Beaulieu spoke Thursday at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall in a speech hosted by the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, and he used a mix of analysis, advice and humor to get his points across.

› Bank of America offers up to $20,000 short sale incentive to homeowners
The nation's largest lender and home loan servicer announced this week it is offering a limited time incentive of between $5,000 and $20,000 to Florida homeowners willing to work with it on a short sale. Bank of America's motive is unknown, but Realtors speculate that with it taking so long to foreclose on a home in Florida that banks are turning to short sales as the solution. Also, Realtors say it's an incentive for homeowners not to trash a home or steal all the appliances before leaving.

› Census revises, lowers number of same-sex couples in Florida
The U.S. Census Bureau released new estimates of the number of gay couples living together last week, saying that its original counts in the 2000 and 2010 censuses were almost certainly too high. The new estimates drop Florida's 2010 same-sex-couple count by 26 percent, from 65,601 to 48,496.

› Rolling feasts: A guide to Orlando food trucks
Dinner or a snack is likely rolling up to a location near you as the mobile-food vendors phenomenon keeps on trucking across the country. Food trucks and mobile kitchens are not new, but with the Food Network's the "Great Food Truck Race" and the Cooking Channel's "Eat Street," suddenly the chuck wagon has traded its dusty demeanor for a hipster happening. In Central Florida, the modern food trucks can trace their roots to construction-site mobile canteens, chow wagons following agricultural harvests and cattle drives, independent barbecue trailers and ethnic-food vendors.

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› Florida can cancel longtime contract for driver handbooks
Florida can cancel a longtime contract with a businessman who holds a lucrative monopoly to print safety handbooks for drivers, a court ruled Thursday. The First District Court of Appeal reversed a lower-court decision and nixed the deal between the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and Kenneth Underwood, owner of the National Safety Commission. Since 2005, the Ponte Vedra Beach company has printed the Official Florida Driver's Handbook for free in return for being able to advertise in it and promote Underwood's online driving schools — LowestPriceTrafficSchool.com — which the court said promoted the perception that Underwood's businesses were endorsed by the state.

› Florida has highest percentage of residents age 75+
Florida tops the nation in the percentage of residents age 75 and over, according to recent estimates from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. In 2010, 8.1 percent of Florida's residents were 75-plus. Among the Top 10 metro areas in the country for the age group were Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (tied for No. 9 with 8 percent).

› Tampa ranks #6 for women-owned small business
Forbes Magazine recently ranked Tampa #6 on its list of cities where women-owned businesses are thriving. The magazine says female entrepreneurs in Tampa have secured nearly $20-million dollars in small business loans backed by the Small Business Administration over the past decade. Not only that, Forbes reports female-led businesses have seen huge growth in Florida -- up almost 80 percent over the past three years.

› Jacksonville lending service company LPS names new CEO
Lender Processing Services has named Hugh R. Harris as the company's new president and chief executive officer, effective today. He fills the position left vacant when Jeffrey Carbiener resigned in July, citing "significant health-related reasons." His resignation was effective immediately, and the company gave no further details.

› Gov. Scott asks federal officials for more time for Everglades cleanup
Florida needs another six years and millions of dollars in new treatment facilities to clean out the pollution now flowing into the Everglades, Gov. Rick Scott told federal leaders Thursday. The timetable may trouble environmentalists, but Scott's visit to Washington and his two-hour meeting with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and other federal officials appeared to be a significant step in resolving more than two decades of legal disputes over Everglades restoration.

› Tampa artist works magic for 'Extreme Makeover'
Tampa artist Jason Hulfish can't say what he designed and painted for a Georgia family featured on this week's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," but it's probably something very cool. Viewers of the ABC reality show won't know until the reveal Sunday night. Hulfish, who is known for creating stunning, colorful murals, says he likes to turn a child's room into a personal theme-park environment. People have paid thousands of dollars for his work, but he volunteered his services when producers from the series called.