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Friday's Afternoon Update

Florida TaxWatch's budget ‘turkey' list totals $281 million

Florida TaxWatch on Thursday released a list of 166 “turkeys” in a newly passed state budget but suggested that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office should give extra scrutiny to all 1,221 local projects that lawmakers put into the record spending plan. With the state flush with cash from federal stimulus money and higher-than-expected tax collections, TaxWatch officials complimented lawmakers for not going as wild as they could have in putting together the $112.1 billion budget for the fiscal year that will start July 1. More from the News Service of Florida.

Disney special district dispute could ‘weaken’ other Florida government bonds, Fitch Ratings warns

One of the nation’s leading bond rating agencies warned Thursday that if the state of Florida doesn’t resolve a conflict over its decision to repeal Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District and its obligation to investors, the move could harm the financial standing of other Florida governments. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Florida Chamber Foundation report lays out new blueprint for Florida manufacturing, logistics and trade growth

Florida’s standing in the global economy – now the equivalent of Mexico at 15th with the potential to be bigger than 10th place South Korea by 2030 – could experience a transformational boost with continued focus and investment on manufacturing, logistics and trade infrastructure and operations, says a new report from the Florida Chamber Foundation. More from Florida Trend.

Advocates push for fixes as critically important seagrass continues to vanish

Seagrass, a blanket term for underwater plants that grow in salt, fresh or brackish water, is critical to the health of marine environments. Providing pasture for grazers like manatees and turtles, it shelters young game and shellfish while cleaning water, holding underwater soils in place and reducing erosion. In recent years, its rapid loss has been catastrophic for manatees, which have died off in unprecedented numbers, leaving the state to provide emergency loads of lettuce to the starving animals. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Feds ponder endangered species protection for Florida gopher tortoises

Federal wildlife officials will decide in the coming months whether increased protections are needed for gopher tortoises, as Florida looks for ways to move the animals out of the path of development. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement Tuesday that will require the federal agency to determine by Sept. 30 whether gopher tortoises in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and eastern Alabama should be listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. More from the News Service of Florida.

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Florida Dining
This fish market in Kendall was just named the best seafood restaurant in Florida

floridaYou can get seafood just about anywhere in Florida. We are, after all, almost completely surrounded by water. But a national food website just reported that you’ll find the best seafood in a landlocked neighborhood at a small, unassuming market and restaurant in Kendall.

» Read more from the Miami Herald.