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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Ian recovery helps boost tax collections

Hurricane Ian recovery efforts helped state general-revenue tax collections in December that topped projections by 14.9 percent. But in a report released Tuesday, economists continued to express concerns about inflation, Floridians digging deeper into personal savings and conditions in the housing market. Net general revenue collections in December totaled $4.083 billion, about $530.5 million over a projection issued in August, according to the report released by the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research. The report indicated recovery and rebuilding efforts from the late-September Category 4 hurricane gave a $122.7 million boost, “with about one-half of the total related to the purchase of autos.” [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida expands campaign to help reduce accidental baby deaths

The Sleep Baby Safely campaign works to educate parents on safe sleeping practices for their babies. Since its inception, the number of sleep-related suffocation deaths in the county has been cut in half. With newly secured funding from the state, the program is now set to expand to eight other counties around Florida, including Hillsborough County. It’s the first time state money has been designated in the health department’s budget to prevent child deaths. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Opinion: JetBlue’s merger with Spirit is critical for Florida’s economy

Across Florida, our economy is booming. We are outpacing the nation and we are now the 15th largest economy in the world. At the center of Florida’s growth is tourism, which has come roaring back with visitor numbers exceeding pre-pandemic levels. This is not only great news for the state, but also for more than half of our state’s small businesses that are supported by tourism. Today, there is a significant business decision that is essential to sustaining this growth. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida may kill unanimous jury rule for the death penalty

With backing from Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida lawmakers could scrap a requirement that unanimous jury recommendations are needed before death sentences can be imposed. Rep. Berny Jacques, R-Seminole, filed a bill (HB 555) on Tuesday that would allow judges to sentence defendants to death based on the recommendations of eight out of 12 jurors. Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, filed an identical bill (SB 450) on Monday. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Former education commissioner Richard Corcoran to lead New College

Richard Corcoran, the fiery former House speaker who led the state education department as it banned “critical race theory” from schools, is on tap to lead Gov. Ron DeSantis’ overhaul of New College of Florida, according to a DeSantis spokesperson. “Yes, it’s real,” spokesperson Taryn Fenske said Tuesday via text message, when asked about the rumor swirling that Corcoran would be appointed as president of the school by a new majority of trustees. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Best Companies to Work For in Florida
Fountainhead | No. 13 Best Small Company
Chris Hurn, founder and CEO of Fountainhead, a non-bank lender for small-to-mid-sized businesses, says the company “retooled” some of its benefits last year to “demonstrate how valuable our people are to us,” both to enhance retention and attract hires. Find out how your company rates in Best Companies To Work For In Florida.

» Register at BestCompaniesFLA.com through Feb. 17!

Well-crafted contracts can build strong relationships

Often the best way to avoid a conflict in business is to think about how one may arise — then craft a business agreement that may address foreseeable issues well in advance. Partners or contracting parties with the best of relationships and intentions can end up feuding. Misunderstandings, changes in circumstance or other issues can lead to missed expectations and irreconcilable disputes. That’s where contracts are well worth the investment in time, insight and money it may cost to craft them. [Sponsored report]


› Commercial Real Estate How much will Disney's Lake Nona campus cost? What experts say.
Now that momentum for The Walt Disney Co.'s (NYSE: DIS) new Lake Nona campus is ramping back up, curious observers throughout Central Florida are wondering just how substantial of a capital investment the nearly 60-acre project will be. Site plans submitted to the city of Orlando for the campus reveal six office buildings, two flex-office buildings and three parking garages for the campus to be built on the north side of Lake Nona Boulevard, near master developer Tavistock Development Co.'s Lake Nona Town Center.

› Manatee County reverses ban on the retail sale of dogs and cats
Manatee County reversed a ban on the retail sale of dogs and cats Tuesday following a swift vote by commissioners who expressed concern about losing a legal battle against two local Petland stores. The ban was approved in August 2021 in a four to three vote following years of advocacy by pet lovers concerned about the retail sale of dogs and cats raised in so-called "puppy mills."

› Hillsborough to sue over $2.4 million CareerSource debt
Hillsborough County is heading to court to try to recoup $2.4 million of taxpayers’ money it fronted a job training agency to cover misspending under its former chief executive officer. The U.S. Department of Labor demanded repayment of more than $4 million from CareerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas after an audit released in March 2022 found the agencies — which formerly operated as sister entities directed by fired CEO Edward Peachey — falsified records and logged phony hiring reports.

› Billionaire Citadel CEO makes $25M donation to Miami hospital. What’s it for?
Billionaire and Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, who recently purchased the historic Adrienne Arsht estate for a record $106.9 million, has donated $25 million to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, one of the largest single donations in the hospital’s 72-year history. The money will help fund a five-story surgical tower, now under construction and set to open in 2024.

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› Feeding Northeast Florida starting work on new operations center
Jacksonville issued a permit Jan. 27 for initial work toward Feeding Northeast Florida’s build-out of a warehouse it bought in late 2021 in Northwest Jacksonville. Don Hardin Construction LLC is the contractor to install a floating slab with wire and heaters in it and install a cooler and freezer in an existing vacant building at a cost of $850,000.

› Miami Beach mayor wants horse patrols on Ocean Drive. Will it happen for spring break?
One month before spring break crowds descend on Ocean Drive, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said he wants police on horseback to help patrol the area — though it’s unlikely the plan will be ready by this March. Gelber placed a resolution on Wednesday’s commission agenda and spoke about the idea during his State of the City address Tuesday morning at Miami Beach’s New World Center.

› Clearwater residents may get refunds for 6 months the city failed to recycle
Citing the need to regain public trust, the City Council is considering issuing refunds to residents for the six months that officials failed to recycle any materials collected from homes. The discussion at a work session Monday followed the discovery in early January that, since July, Clearwater’s Solid Waste and Recycling Department had picked up recyclables from curbsides but failed to deliver them to Waste Management in Ybor City for processing.

› Operation ‘Best Foot Forward’ returns to Central Florida
Operation Best Foot Forward is returning to Central Florida for another year of pedestrian safety and an enforcement of Florida’s driver yield law. Operation BFF will span over two weeks across Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties. The initiative begins Monday, Jan. 30, and ends Friday, Feb. 10. The two week operation aligns with Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, which falls on Friday, Feb. 3.