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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Jonathan Hage, CEO of Charter Schools USA, is the Floridian of the Year.

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Floridian of the Year: Jonathan Hage

This year's Floridian of the Year has parlayed his experience as an education policy wonk into one of the fastest-growing for-profit charter school management companies in the nation, Charter Schools USA. Read our full profile...

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Florida Statewide
Newsmakers of the Year

The Tourist: Visitor spending kept things from getting worse in Florida.

Citizens:The state-run insurer brought some problems on itself.

Falcon 9 Rocket: Commercial launches are helping the Space Coast.

Gun Owners: Florida has passed the 1-million mark for active concealed weapon permits.

State College Presidents: Florida has more top-performing community colleges than any other state.

Team USA: Florida was well represented at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Florida pursues studies on new commercial launch complex

The state is pressing forward with studies related to the commercial launch complex it has proposed establishing at the north end of Kennedy Space Center, while awaiting word on whether NASA will make the property available. [Source: Florida Today]

Florida recovery picks up the pace

A Federal Reserve index shows a big improvement for Florida’s economy. Each month, the Fed’s Philadelphia bank issues state-by-state indices that combine wage, employment and manufacturing data. And while most states have been improving since 2009, Florida’s index for October saw the biggest jump in seven years. [Source: Miami Herald]

Gov. Scott's goal of tax cuts a mixed result

Gov. Rick Scott was following a well-read playbook when he campaigned in 2010 to kick-start the economy in part with deep property tax cuts. It just didn't come off as scripted. Now, Scott has replaced his property-tax pledge with a mantra to do no further harm to public schools. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]


› Minimum wage up 12 cents in Florida for New Year
Good news for minimum wage workers in Florida: The New Year means your pay just increased. With the start of 2013, Florida's minimum wage increased by 12 cents an hour to $7.79. The increase is expected to have the biggest effect on drivers, toll collectors, security guards and hourly workers in the hotel industry.

› Gainesville CoWork offers an office setting, minus the expense
Gainesville CoWork offers a place for people who need a professional office setting but aren't ready for the expense and commitment of their own office.

› Video-game company helps write Florida tax-incentive law
During the past three years, even as it has struggled with shrinking tax revenue, the Florida Legislature has dramatically expanded the amount of incentives available to film and entertainment companies.

› Florida insurance rates rising
The one thing a New Year always brings in Florida is higher property insurances rates and 2013 will be no different.

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› Mexican tomatoes, strawberries worry Fla. growers
Florida’s tomato and strawberry growers say they’re fighting to keep up with a rising tide of cheaper produce imports from Mexico.

› Hoteliers making their list, checking it twice
With the start of a new year, Central Florida's hospitality industry is crafting a 2013 wish list: What it wants from this year's session of the Florida Legislature.

› Top 5 business stories of 2012 in Southwest Florida
The economic recovery got under way in Southwest Florida in 2012. Retail sales were up. Tourism was up. Construction was up. Real estate sales were up. As a result, unemployment was down.

› Sarasota author suing biggest U.S. bank over foreclosure
Self-help author Liz Coursen was not looking to set a precedent when she decided to go after the big Wall Street investment bank that foreclosed on her Sarasota home. She just wanted her house back.