Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Thursday's Daily Pulse

Florida's wage growth continues to rise

A recent report by ADP shows that wage growth is rising in Florida, and median salary continues to increase for workers who have stayed in their roles for a year or more. The financial services website released its monthly job report highlighting the salaries of the same cohort of almost 10 million individual employees over 12 months. Workers in Florida started 2024 making 5.7% more on average compared to January of last year [Source: Orlando Business Journal]

10 big issues mid-session

Florida’s annual 60-day legislative session reached its halfway point Wednesday. The House and Senate have proposed spending plans that top $115 billion for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, which will start July 1. The proposals set the stage for negotiations on a final budget in the coming weeks. Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed a $114.4 billion budget, down from $119.1 billion in the current year. Bills on child labor, social media, Confederate monuments, education and more are still moving.  Here are updates on 10 big issues in the session. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida Trend Exclusive
ALICE in Florida: Barely getting by

The United Way has taken the lead in focusing attention on working families who earn above the federal poverty line and largely do not qualify for government assistance. The organization refers to those families as ALICE: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed; and they exist in large number is nearly every community. ALICE families are those led by teachers, first-responders, civil servants, nurses and even attorneys working in Florida’s public agencies, like public defenders’ offices. [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida’s 2024 presidential primary, explained

Florida’s March 19 presidential primary is more than a month away. But for thousands of voters, the election is already here. The presidential primary can be confusing. Every state does things a little differently. Some states — or parties — don’t have a primary at all. And in some Florida counties, the primary coincides with important local races. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida leads nation in child drownings. Lawmakers want to fix that

For years, Florida has led the nation in child drowning deaths, and 2023 was no exception. Florida Department of Children and Families data shows that at least 97 kids drowned to death last year. This continues a trend years in the making: 2022 saw 93 kids drown, 99 in 2021, 69 in 2020, 65 in 2019, 88 in 2018, and 82 in 2017. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]


› Construction costs begin to level off in Miami-Dade
Construction costs in Miami-Dade County have begun for the first time to do some leveling off, local experts say. The stabilization of construction costs can be attributed to elevated interest rates that could impact project financing in some sectors, as well as remote work that is really stymieing the office space and commercial side of the business, said Bob Kramer, vice president and account manager for Skanska’s Florida building operations.

› Orange County transportation sales tax may face these challenges
Orange County commissioners on Feb. 6 agreed to explore a sales tax hike to fund transportation improvements here — but they stopped short of a full endorsement for the proposal to go on the 2024 ballot for voter approval. A penny sales tax that have generated $600 million per year failed to garner enough support to pass during the 2022 November election. County commissioners said they want county staff to make changes to the prior tax hike proposal for them to consider.

› ‘We have it all here’: Florida’s agriculture business is booming in Seminole County
Next to tourism, agriculture is the second largest industry in Florida. Throughout the state there are more than 47,000 farms. Seminole County — despite being a relatively urban area — is home to around 400 of them. Seminole County’s farms range in services that include agritourism, U-picks, and produce production.

› Port Tampa Bay anticipates breaking all-time cruise passenger record in 2024
Port Tampa Bay expects to break the all-time cruise passenger record this year as the cruise industry continues to boom, officials said. "It's really kind of an amazing transformation that the cruise industry has taken from literally no business at all - no ship sailing (during the pandemic) - to where we are today," Port Tampa Bay’s vice president of business development, Greg Lovelace, said.

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› Publix just introduced a new Pub Sub, and it goes with a South Florida sports team
Publix announced a new Florida Panthers-inspired Pub Sub as part of its partnership with South Florida’s NHL hockey team. The sweet and savory sub, available for an unspecified limited time at the grocery chain’s deli department, sports hot honey chicken tenders, bacon, crispy fried dill pickles and your choice of cheese.

› Businesses near massive fire in downtown Jacksonville open up again
Some businesses surrounding the RISE Doro apartment building in Jacksonville’s Sports Complex downtown are starting to return to operations after fire torched the structure more than a week ago. Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan ordered the immediate demolition of the Doro building, which had nearly 300 units that were under construction when the fire started after construction crews were finishing up work on an incomplete structure.

› Orlando Fringe announces new executive director
A former vice president at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will take the reins at Orlando Fringe as the nonprofit continues working to integrate the downtown Fringe ArtSpace into the organization. Scott Galbraith, who spent two years at the Orlando arts center overseeing programming and later education, will become interim executive director on Feb. 12, the organization announced.

› Clearwater Marine Aquarium is trying to raise $32 million for an expansion
Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Tuesday announced the launch of a new campaign to raise $32 million over the next six years. The aquarium said the money will allow it to bring in new wildlife, create habitats and launch global conservation initiatives. The campaign is an expansion of its “Rising Tides” capital initiative that has already funded a recent $80 million expansion that tripled its dolphin habitat, added more education areas, parking and hospital facilities.