FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Tuesday's Afternoon Update

Big companies have lots of Florida customers -- but sidestep state income taxes

Every time someone wins an auction on eBay.com, the company takes a cut of the sale. That’s how it makes most of its money. And eBay makes a lot of that money from people in Florida. The California company collected nearly $350 million from Florida-based sellers in 2014, according to records filed in a tax dispute between eBay and the Department of Revenue. Yet, when it came time to pay its Florida corporate income taxes, eBay decided that none of those sales happened in Florida. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Legoland Florida lays off 1% of workforce

Legoland Florida Resort recently trimmed about 1 percent of its staff, including some senior positions. The Winter Haven theme park has about 1,500 employees in peak season, including part-time workers, a spokeswoman said. The layoffs arrive a few months after the announced sale of Merlin Entertainments, the England-based company that owns the Legoland chain, as well as Madame Tussauds wax museum and other attractions. More from the Lakeland Ledger.

Mixed results for personal income gains in Southwest Florida

Most Southwest Florida residents had more money to spend last year, but some of their wallets didn’t get fatter than those in the rest of the country. Personal income rose faster in Sarasota County in 2018, but Manatee and Charlotte counties failed to keep pace with the statewide and U.S. averages, according to new estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Rita and Rick Case named FAU business leaders of year

Long-time automotive dealers Rita and Rick Case will receive Florida Atlantic University’s 28th annual Business Leaders of the Year award. “With a reputation for innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and care for their customers, the [Cases] have built an incredible business," Daniel Gropper, dean of FAU’s College of Business, said in a news release. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Criticism of JEA sale talk draws strong response from Jacksonville’s mayor

Past and present Jacksonville mayors clashed Monday over the potential sale of JEA, as Mayor Lenny Curry fought back against calls from critics — headlined by former Mayor Jake Godbold — to stop discussion of privatization. Curry did not flatly endorse selling the city’s electric and water utility. But the mayor, who has routinely avoided expressing opinions on JEA’s future, told a special City Council committee about that subject that “exploring alternatives to the status quo” was “vital to protecting the future of this community. More from the Florida Times-Union.

Arts Business
Exclusive art events are coming to luxury condos on the eve of Art Basel

 Luxury condo towers across Miami are prepping for Art Basel by hosting meet and greets with famed artists, including Jeff Koons, and exclusive showings. It’s all part of what buyers expect these days, organizers said.

» More from the Miami Herald.

 

Out of the Box
Ritz-Carlton Orlando’s pastry chef helps build 14-foot-tall mass of chocolate, candies every year

floridaIt takes an army of about 25 pastry chefs to build the Ritz-Carlton’s gingerbread house. Together, they turn 350 pounds of sugar, two bottles of rum, and 1,200 eggs into what has become an annual attraction at the luxury hotel. To guests, the 14-foot-wide, roughly 13-foot-tall sweet treat, which will be unveiled Friday, represents the holidays and puts them in the spirit of the season.

» Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.