Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Even more people moved to Florida last year. Here’s where they came from

Florida has become an incredibly popular state within the past few years, and that trend didn’t let up in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In a report from late November, the agency announced that the number of people moving into Florida was much higher than the national average, while outmigration rates have been lower. [Source: Click Orlando]

Florida fires back in its fight over sports betting

Gov. Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders late Friday urged the Florida Supreme Court to reject a challenge to a deal that allowed the Seminole Tribe to offer online sports betting statewide, saying it does not violate a 2018 constitutional amendment that restricted casino gambling. State lawyers filed a 55-page brief that disputed arguments by the pari-mutuel companies West Flagler Associates and Bonita-Fort Myers Corp., which have fought the sports-betting plan in state and federal courts. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Opinion: Florida’s birthright of Sunshine is once again under attack

For longer than most Floridians have been alive, the slogan “Sunshine State” stood for more than warm weather. It symbolized a broad and historic commitment to open government. Florida was a beacon to the nation. Was. It’s no longer true. The Legislature has riddled the public records laws with more than 1,000 exemptions, easily hurdling the two-thirds supermajorities of both houses that the Constitution requires. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Former U.S. diplomat arrested in Florida, charged with serving as secret agent for Cuba

A former American diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Bolivia has been charged with serving as a mole for Cuba’s intelligence services dating back decades, the Justice Department said Monday. Newly unsealed court papers allege that Manuel Rocha engaged in “clandestine activity” on Cuba’s behalf since at least 1981, including by meeting with Cuban intelligence operatives and providing false information to U.S. government officials about his travels and contacts. [Source: AP]

Building boom looming for Florida Keys? State considers easing decades-old growth limits 

The state is considering easing strict long-standing limits on development in the Florida Keys, a move that could fuel the biggest building boom in the ecologically fragile island chain in nearly a half-century. It could — at least potentially — open the door to as many as 8,000 new homes and businesses in one of Florida’s most famous tourist destinations and supercharge Monroe County’s construction industry and economy. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.


› Here are Pensacola's top paying jobs, industries and how they compare
Do Pensacola workers actually make that much less than workers in other states? Yes, and in many cases, the differences are stark. A recent report from payroll company ADP shows that Florida’s median yearly income for salary and hourly workers in Florida in October was $51,500, an increase of about 6.4% from last year.

› DeSantis’ Disney chief tells employees they owe $2 million in back taxes, but he’s working on a fix
Employees at Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Disney World oversight district owe the Internal Revenue Service more than $2 million in back taxes, according to an internal memo obtained by the Orlando Sentinel. The issue stems from free Disney passes employees and retirees received for years as part of their benefits, district administrator Glen Gilzean wrote in an email to employees explaining the situation.

› Restaurants in Miami Beach and Key West named among the best in the country
An upscale Michelin-starred restaurant in Miami Beach and an outdoor, oceanfront paradise in the Florida Keys were named among the top 100 restaurants in the United States for 2023. OpenTable has released its annual Top 100 Restaurants in the U.S. for 2023, and Stubborn Seed was the only spot in Miami-Dade County to make the cut. Also on the list was Latitudes Key West on Sunset Key.

› Can Bradenton's popular municipal golf course keep up with Jones?
Rounds at Bradenton’s River Run Golf Links are on the rise lately, bucking national trends. And so is net income at the city-owned facility on 27th Street East, near the Pirate City baseball complex. Priced no higher than $55 to play 18 holes in a cart, fees remain lower than most in the region, especially in comparison to Sarasota’s municipal course, which is scheduled to reopen Dec. 15 with maximum rates more than twice River Run's price.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Margaritaville at Sea expands with a bigger ship: Here’s where it will go
Margaritaville at Sea announced plans for its newest ship, but it won’t be sailing from any of South Florida’s three ports. The Margaritaville at Sea Islander — a rechristened Costa Cruises ship purchased earlier this year by the Riviera Beach-based budget cruise line — will sail four- and five-night cruises from the Port of Tampa beginning June 14, according to a news release on Monday.

› Cost for fixing Duval school buildings could hit $3.9 billion, putting payment in question
The $1.9 billion slate of school repairs and construction that Duval County voters agreed in 2020 to help finance through a half-penny sales tax could end up costing $3.9 billion, school administrators now project. The sticker shock is being compounded by a forecast that tax revenues earmarked to pay for the 15-year worklist could fall $1.4 billion short of the new final price.

› Orlando Housing Authority tabs developers for public housing rebuild
Two development companies will work with the Orlando Housing Authority to replace six deteriorating public housing complexes with new, higher-density residential communities, GrowthSpotter reported, including the pollution-plagued Griffin Park next to Interstate 4. Miami-based Related Urban Construction and New York-based Property Markets Group were recently awarded bids to deliver thousands of units to a total of 125 acres across Orange County at a time when nearly 15,000 people are on a list awaiting affordable options.

› Jacksonville receives $500K for creation of autism center
A Precision Autism Center of Excellence in Jacksonville was among 10 new projects to receive strategic funding from the University of Florida, the President’s Office announced Monday. The $500,000 allocated over a year to help create the center will expand the clinical capacity for the diagnostic evaluation, management and treatment of children and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders.