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Wednesday's Afternoon Update

DeSantis proposes $114.4 billion budget, smaller Florida government

Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a new spending plan for state government on Tuesday that’s smaller than the current year’s. In the name of “efficiency,” DeSantis said he wants to spend $4.6 billion less than the current year and cut 1,000 positions in state government. In reality, however, the governor’s $114.4 billion plan is lower after exhausting billions in federal dollars and using accounting techniques he’s employed in the past to make his budgets appear smaller. More from the Tampa Bay Times,  the News Service of Florida, the Orlando Sentinel, and WTSP.

What would you do with $190 million? Here's what Treasure Coast governments are doing

Treasure Coast cities and counties are in the midst of spending a nearly $190 million windfall on everything from street sweepers to housing to infrastructure. The cash is coming from the federal American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus-relief program passed by Congress and signed into law in 2021. The $1.9 trillion plan provided money to individual households and $350 billion to states, cities, counties and tribal governments across the country. The most money on the Treasure Coast — $63.8 million — went to the largest government, St. Lucie County. More TC Palm.

DeSantis seeks to spend Hillsborough transportation sales tax funds

Remember the now more than $570 million collected from the Hillsborough transportation sales tax supported by county voters in 2018 before it was overturned by Florida Supreme Court? Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the money to be used on transportation projects in Hillsborough rather than on a tax refund — a process he had recommended a year prior. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

Orlando Ballet bets big on new $3.6 million ‘Nutcracker’

When Orlando Ballet opens its new $3.6 million production of “The Nutcracker” on Friday, the goal will be to entertain the patrons — many of whom, if tradition holds, will be first-time ballet-goers. But beyond creating holiday memories of the Sugar Plum Fairy for Central Floridians, there’s a lot riding on that expenditure — an enormous sum for a local production. “This is a huge investment. Absolutely,” said executive director Cheryl Collins. “It’s got to be a colossal show and hold its weight for a significant number of years.” More from the Orlando Sentinel.

‘The most important place in the art world’: Miami Art Week kicks off with big openings

Miami Art Week kicked into full roar Tuesday with a flurry of VIP openings that left collectors, still jazzed from November art auctions, dashing across the causeways. UNTITLED on the sand near 12th Street. Design Miami/ by the Miami Beach Convention Center. NADA in the Ice Palace Studios west of the Arsht Center. The gigantic maze on the beach at Faena in mid-Beach. And what is generally thought of as the real launch to Art Week, Art Miami and CONTEXT just east of the Arsht, on the bayfront. More from the Miami Herald.

Out of the Box
Sarasota Ford opens multimillion-dollar restaurant inside the dealership

Michelin Star recipient and world-renowned chef Jose Martinez didn’t mince words when Matt Buchanan, president and managing partner of Sarasota Ford, came to him with a big and bold idea. Buchanan knew Martinez a little, having dined at the chef’s noted Maison Blanche on Longboat Key with his wife, Diana Buchanan, on big occasions. Buchanan’s plan: create and open a high-end, French-accented restaurant inside the Ford dealership, open only to customers. “I told him this was a crazy idea,” says Martinez, “but that I am up for the challenge.”

» More from the Business Observer.


The GTA 6 trailer shows pure Florida mayhem

The first trailer for Grand Theft Auto VI is pure Floridacore. The 90-second video, first leaked Monday and then posted on the official Rockstar Games YouTube channel, shows airboats and flamingos in flight. Babes dance on boats and stroll beaches and twerk on top of speeding cars. This tropical cityscape is built up with causeways and high-rises. All of it is soundtracked to sirens and Tom Petty.

» Read more from Tampa Bay Timesand WFLA.