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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Florida’s budget to take big hit as sales taxes collapse

Florida’s finances are about to get hit. Hard. That’s because some of the industries that have been forced into near-complete shutdowns as part of the effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus are also some of the same industries that Florida leans upon most heavily to prop up the state budget. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

See also:
» The coronavirus recession is here. Will it linger in Florida?

Analysis: Florida ranks 3rd in U.S. in taxpayers' return on investment

Florida taxpayers are getting a significant return on their investment, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the personal finance website WalletHub. The analysis ranked Florida third on its list of states and taxpayers' ROI for the taxes they pay in those states. WalletHub sought to find out whether people in high-tax states receive superior government services compared to low-tax states or whether low-tax states are more efficient in the services provided. [Source: The Center Square]

Is medical pot essential? Yes, as Florida dispensaries stay open amid pandemic

As Florida municipalities and counties have started to close nonessential businesses in an attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, they have exempted what are deemed “essential” businesses like healthcare providers, gas stations, banks and news outlets. But what about medical marijuana treatment centers? They’ll remain open for business. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida attorney general investigating Norwegian Cruise Line’s coronavirus sales pitch

A “Consumer Protection” investigation from Florida attorney general Ashley Moody’s office is looking into misleading statements from Norwegian Cruise Line to potential customers about the coronavirus. “We are in the thick of a public health crisis like our modern world has never experienced,” Moody said in a statement. “My Consumer Protection Division is conducting an extensive investigation to get to the bottom of the disturbing allegations against Norwegian Cruise Lines. [Source: Miami Herald]

Closed attractions find ways to reach out and teach

If you can’t go to the alligators, then Gatorland will bring the alligators to you. No, the longtime Orlando attraction is not ramping up a reptile-delivery service. It is introducing two daily productions streamed to stay-at-home folks created by the coronavirus pandemic. Temporarily closed attractions are using internet and social-media platforms to entertain and educate. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

See also:
» Wild Florida to keep drive-thru safari park open for guests


› What could be Pasco’s next sports attraction?
A Zephyrhills man is making a run a what he hopes will be Pasco County’s next sports-tourism attraction. Bernard "BB’' Roberts’ Fast Sprint Quick LLC is proposing to build a "state-of-the-art, world-class track facility and professional athlete training facility'' in Wesley Chapel.

› Sarasota businesses may see $4.4 million relief from county
Sarasota County Commissioners are considering giving out $4.4 million to help keep businesses open and also narrow the scope of the coronavirus’ hit on the local economy. That could come from a pot of money set aside to help diversify the economy during the Great Recession.

› Key West is empty. No tourists, no bars — and no income for struggling workers
This time of year, Key West’s Duval Street teems with tourists. They’re peeling off big bucks for booze, food and tips. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, the Southernmost City has been left without its economic engine. The tourists are gone. And no one knows when they will be allowed back.

› Business transforms into online music school
Music Compound is now offering online lessons for current and future members. According to a press release, the executive team of the Sarasota-based business transformed its business model within 24 hours to an online music school. In the past, Music Compound provided in-person music lessons for all ages.

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› JEA adds new members to dwindled senior leadership team
JEA has added a chief legal counsel and chief government affairs officer. Jody Brooks will return as chief legal counsel and Kurt Wilson will join as interim vice president and chief government affairs officer. Brooks was hired by the Office of General Counsel to fill Lynne Rhode's position after she left.

› How Florida's national wildlife refuges impact Everglades Restoration
he Everglades Coalition (EVCO) is an alliance of more than 60 local, state and national organizations dedicated to the full restoration of the greater Everglades ecosystem. In January, the EVCO hosted its 35th Annual Everglades Coalition Conference at the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva.

› Orlando’s Marriott Worldwide Vacations to furlough staff, shutter U.S. timeshares over coronavirus pandemic
Timeshare giant Marriott Vacations Worldwide said Tuesday it will shut down operations and furlough its workers because of a massive drop in business related to coronavirus. The Orlando-based company also will close all service centers through April 6 and all resorts to rental guests through April 23.

› Florida's innovative new district cooling facility reducing carbon footprint
Located in the new waterfront neighborhood of Water Street Tampa, Florida, an innovative new district cooling facility is helping reduce the 56 acre development's carbon footprint on a massive scale while also recycling millions of gallons of water per year. This new building frees up rooftops and coveted streetscapes by centralizing water production for this sprawling new neighborhood; giving 13 acres of public space back to the local community.