On Sunday, The Christian Science Monitor explored the question: Is Jeb Bush the 2016 version of Mitt Romney?
In New Hampshire this weekend, there was already the scent of it. Perhaps not overpowering yet, but unmistakable and very familiar.
"I'm sick and tired of mushy, wishy-washy conservatives," one attendee of a Republican gathering for potential presidential candidates in New Hampshire told The Boston Herald....
04/17/15 Working Life
Florida kept creating jobs last month, but not enough in higher-paying categories and not enough to nudge down its unemployment rate.
The jobless rate stood unchanged at 5.7 percent in March, after both February and December's rates were revised upward from 5.6 percent.
That puts Florida above the national unemployment rate of 5.5 percent.
Chris McCarty of the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic Research sounded underwhelmed by Friday's report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity....
The Tampa Bay Times' John Romano and Robert Trigaux -- Times' metro and business columnist, respectively -- offered two takes on the latest political happenings in the Capitol.
Trigaux writes about how Gov. Rick Scott's job-poaching trip to California has sparked a backlash on the West coast....
.. From the Tampa Bay Times' Ivan Penn:
TALLAHASSEE -- Duke Energy Florida customers will see their electric bills drop on average by $3.45 a month beginning in May after state regulators on Thursday approved an end to charges related to the failed Levy County nuclear project.
But the 1.7 million customers shouldn't get too comfortable with the extra change in their pockets.
Read more here ...
While Florida lawmakers remain at a standstill, another Republican-controlled state legislature moves forward with Medicaid expansion.
The Hill writes here about action in the Montana statehouse.
A Tallahassee take from the Tampa Bay Times' John Romano:
Folks, it's time we face facts.
And the glut of evidence suggests that residents of this glorious state are now intrinsically linked by this one simple truth:
We are morons.
You, me and everyone else.
We are morons for allowing a handful of selfish, egotistical, politically driven hucksters waste billions of our tax dollars while also playing games with people's lives....
04/08/15 Working Life
After posting a strong finish in 2014, Florida job growth has moderated so far this year based on the latest survey from payroll processing firm ADP.
Florida added a modest 14,400 private sector jobs last month, down slightly from February and on par with January.
The state remains third in the nation in job creation behind California (35,700 jobs) and Texas (18,800). But the pace is far off 2014, when job creation topped 20,000 for several months....
03/27/15 State Roundup
The hallmarks of Florida's economic recovery are nothing if not consistent: slow, steady and still elusive for some.
Slow: The state's jobs report for February, released Friday, showed the unemployment rate improving to 5.6 percent, down from 5.7 percent, with 19,700 jobs added in the month.
Florida's dip into double-digit unemployment seems a distant memory but — going on six years this summer since the official end of the Great Recession — days of 3 percent unemployment have fallen even further past recollection. ...
For the second year in a row, The Villages in central Florida is the fastest growing metro area in the country, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday.
The popular retirement mecca grew at a 5.4 percent clip between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014 to reach a population of about 114,000.
Six Florida metros were in the top 20 among the fastest-growing. Joining The Villages were Cape Coral-Fort Myers (sixth); Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island (10th); Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (16th); North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (18th); and Panama City (19th)....
03/23/15 Personal Finance
Many Americans entering their sunset years may still be flocking to the Sunshine State. But they may want to think twice, based on one analysis released Monday.
Florida ranks in the bottom half of the pack as the 28th-best state for retirement, according to a new report from financial services firm Bankrate.com based on issues such as cost of living, taxes, health care, crime and climate....
State-run Citizens Property Insurance's policy count has shrunk to its lowest level since its creation 10 years ago.
CEO Barry Gilway told his board Wednesday that his company, which insures property owners who cannot find coverage on the open market, had fallen to 598,408 policies as of March 13. Barring a major storm, Citizens could see its footprint dwindle to 450,000 Florida policies, he predicted....
State-run Citizens Property Insurance has shrunk to the fewest number of policies since its creation 10 years ago.
CEO Barry Gilway told his board today that his company, which insures property owners who cannot find coverage on the open market, has fallen to 598,408 policies as of March 13.
Barring a major storm, Citizens could see its footprint dwindle to as few as 450,000 Florida policies, he predicted....
Today, Gov. Rick Scott announced four appointments to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
-- Robert “Pete” Edwards, 63, of Tampa, is a retired drug court counselor with DACCO. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning today and ending Oct. 1, 2015.
-- Jacob Cremer, 30, of Tampa, is an attorney with Smolker, Bartlett, Loeb, Hinds & Sheppard, P.A. He succeeds Kim Vance and is appointed for a term beginning today and ending Oct. 1, 2015.
-- Frank Rygiel, 40, of Wesley Chapel, is the vice president of business development for Florida for Batson-Cook Company. He succeeds Earl Young and is appointed for a term beginning today and ending Oct. 1, 2015.
-- David Dunbar, 62, of Ozona, is the chairman of the board of People’s Bank. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning today and ending at the pleasure of the governor.
The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate....
03/17/15 Working Life
Florida's unemployment rate stood at 5.7 percent in January, unchanged from December, according to figures released Tuesday.
The state added 13,900 jobs over the month and is now up nearly 275,000 jobs from January 2014.
Gov. Rick Scott, as customary, focused on private-sector job creation rather than overall jobs, noting that Florida has added more than 800,000 nongovernment jobs since he took office in December 2010. Florida saw a huge drop in government jobs during the recession and during a government-shrinking push by Scott in the initial years of his first term. But the state has since been adding government jobs, including 5,400 over the past year....
Trying to help a damaged real estate market, the Florida Legislature in 2007 made it easier to convert condos to apartments.Bulk buyers who acquired 80 percent of the units in a complex could vote to convert to rentals and force the remaining individual owners to sell and leave.
That means some condo owners have no choice but to sell, in some cases at a financial loss.
With condo-to-apartment conversions increasingly common, Florida lawmakers this session are considering bills that would provide compensation and better protect some individual owners. But there is concern the bills contain a big loophole that, unless removed, could wipe out the protections....