Rosy Florida economic forecast imperiled by COVID-19 surge, labor shortage, housing costs
Florida economists assessing the state’s tourism, housing and labor sectors say the metrics add up to a post-pandemic economy poised for a boom. But, they cautioned, it could go bust if COVID-19 positivity and hospitalizations are not quelled, labor shortages don’t dissipate and new home inventories aren’t boosted. In a presentation Tuesday to Florida’s Economic Estimating Conference (REC), Vesselka McAlarney of the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research (EDR) forecast Florida’s economy in the second quarter of 2021 exceeded pre-pandemic levels “due to faster than expected improvements in economic activity.” More from the Center Square.
Florida part of major opioid settlements
Florida is slated to receive as much as $1.6 billion in multi-state legal settlements with three pharmaceutical distributors and one drug manufacturer stemming from the opioid epidemic, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Wednesday. Florida was one of 14 states that negotiated the agreements with distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. More from the News Service of Florida.
New group with secretive funding challenges FPL’s four-year, $2 billion rate increase
As Florida Power & Light prepares to ask state regulators for the largest rate increase in state history — expecting its customers to pay at least $6.2 billion more over four years — a mysterious adversary has emerged. Floridians Against Increased Rates was organized in March, shortly after FPL filed its request to raise rates before the Public Service Commission, the state agency that regulates utility rates. More from the Miami Herald.
With Tampa Bay in grip of Red Tide, shrimpers turn their nets toward death
Pinellas County has hired an ad hoc armada of shrimp boats like the Tuckers’ to comb local waters with nets. About 30 boats have helped; in total, the county has collected more than 1,440 tons of dead sea life and debris from the beaches to the bay. And the work continues. The boats are the most effective tool for keeping fish off land, where they are not only a grisly sight but harder to pick up once they become entangled in sand, trees and rocks. Cleaning the bay is not just a matter of vanity. The dead fish, if left to degrade, could supply more nutrients to fuel Red Tide. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Miami ‘Hack Week’ hopes to lure tech programmers to Magic City
A key ingredient remains missing from Miami’s next-great-tech-hub brew: an abundance of software engineers. A group led by longtime South Florida innovators hope they can lay the seeds to change that. They are organizing Miami Hack Week, kicking off Aug. 1. The goal is ambitious: To ultimately convince 5,000 engineers to move to Miami. More from the Miami Herald.
Out of the Box
Where are Florida’s strangest McDonald’s? One man is on a mission to find out.
There’s a McDonald’s that looks like a beach shack in Clearwater Beach. A “McDock” eatery right on the water in Madeira Beach. A green energy Mickey D’s near Walt Disney World, powered by solar panels, where guests sit at LED-embedded tables and charge their phones by riding public exercise bikes outside. While most McDonald’s look alike, a rare breed of one-off themed locations are still out in the wild. How did these funky fast food spots come to be? What makes them so beloved? And why are they disappearing? Max Krieger plans to drive across Florida and find out.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Disney Springs packs in the Flavors of Florida with free-entry food event
Those wishing to savor the delicious bites of a Walt Disney World food fest without the price tag of theme park entry should head to Disney Springs for Flavors of Florida. More than 30 restaurants and stores at the dining, entertainment and shopping complex offer a slice of summer with Sunshine State-inspired dishes and beverages throughout the event.
» Read more from the Orlando Sentinel.