What, me worry?
A hurricane-free decade has left most Floridians with a "relative lack of concern" that they'll face a hurricane this year, according to the latest Mason-Dixon Florida Poll.
In fact, not only does a significant majority say they don't feel vulnerable to storm damage, about one in three Floridians don't plan to evacuate if a Category 1 storm is looming -- even if ordered to do so by emergency officials. ...
07/17/15 Working Life
Don't look now, but Florida is finally posting job numbers in the range of what economists used to call "full employment."
Gov. Rick Scott trumpeted Friday that the state's unemployment rate in June fell two notches to 5.5 percent, a level not seen since early 2008, some six months before Wall Street's epic collapse turned an economic downturn into the Great Recession.
Pinellas County, best-performing among Tampa Bay counties, is even tasting that rarified air of sub-5 percent unemployment with a jobless rate of 4.9 percent. ...
For the last seven years, lobbyists have been pushing for a bill that would eliminate a five-year waiting period for legally residing immigrant children to access healthcare through the Florida KidCare program. A proposal to eliminate the waiting period failed yet again this year, most recently during the special session.
Samantha Schmidt of the Tampa Bay Times profiles Ana Maria Campos, a leukemia victim and one of thousands of legally residing immigrant children in Florida cut off from coverage because of that waiting period....
From Jenny Luna of the Miami Herald:
MIAMI - Despite cutting millions of dollars to aid the state's disabled community, Gov. Rick Scott signed a new law Monday that allows individuals with disabilities to boost their savings from $2,000 to $100,000 without jeopardizing their state and federal benefits.
Scott signed the Florida Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act amid students and families of the Marian Center in Miami Gardens, a school for people with disabilities. The law would go into effect by July 1, 2016....
Tampa Bay Times' columnist William March writes about Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern still mulling over whether to run for the District 13 congressional seat. Plus, he tallies up the take from Hillsborough County's Lincoln Day Dinner.
Read more here ...
TAMPA — Head to the nearest park, test your mettle on Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens, or just soak up some rays.
In the seemingly endless stream of lists ranking America's metros, here's one we can actually sit back and enjoy.
Tampa is the fourth-best city in the country for recreation, according to personal finance site WalletHub.
WalletHub said it picked July to release its latest analysis because this is National Park and Recreation Month, and America's biggest cities invested more than $6.4 billion on park and recreation in 2014....
The Tampa Bay Times' Craig Pittman writes about implications of Gov. Rick Scott's veto of $4.5 million toward controversial water-farming projects.
Read more here
The Tampa Bay Times' Tony Marrero writes about pending budget cuts in court clerks' offices statewide. Clerks are blaming the Legislature for failing to make up a deficit in the state trust fund that feeds their budgets.
The executive committee of the Clerks of Court Operations Corporation, the clerks' statewide budgeting arm, is expected to make official the across-the-board cut during a conference call at 4 p.m. Monday....
The Tampa Bay Times' Tony Marrero writes about the fate of one St. Petersburg project -- a top priority of the bay area delegation -- which was left high and dry after a veto by Gov. Rick Scott.
Read more here
In the books it will go down as the board of Citizens Property Insurance unanimously agreeing to seek a 3.2 percent average rate increase for policyholders statewide.
However, as Citizens chief risk officer John Rollins emphasized to board members for the state-run insurer in his rates presentation Wednesday morning, "nobody pays the average."
In fact for most of the state, including Tampa Bay, homeowners will enjoy rate decreases. Throughout the bay area, depending on the county, average rates could fall anywhere from 3.1 percent to 8 percent. ...
Gov. Rick Scott's budget signing ceremony in his office at 8:30 this morning was a quiet affair. The reaction afterward has been anything but.
Here's an afternoon update on how lawmakers and others viewed Scott's $461 million worth of vetoes:
Senate President Andy Gardiner said some Florida families "have had their dreams shattered."...
06/19/15 Working Life
Florida's ongoing economic recovery has hit a spring swoon.
The state's unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7 percent in May, rising from 5.6 percent a month earlier and widening the gap with the national jobless rate of 5.5 percent. The state added a relatively meager 17,100 jobs, bringing its total number of jobs up by 268,500 compared with a year ago.
Florida's sub 1 percent job growth over the month failed to keep up with a surge of new residents. In fact, Florida's population of 16-and-up residents swelled by 21,000 in May, even as the size of its workforce shrunk by 27,000. Economists say some of the disconnect is likely tied to retiring baby boomers....
Tampa Bay Times columnist William March reports that Tampa area Republicans are anticipating big bucks by having Jeb Bush as their Lincoln Day dinner speaker Friday, four days after his presidential announcement.
The gross will be more than $170,000, said party Chairman Deborah Tamargo.
That's good, but not a record, said former Chairman Debbie Cox-Roush, who said one such event she chaired with Mitt Romney drew more than $200,000....
Following Jeb Bush's jump into the presidential race on Monday, another high-profile candidate with strong Florida ties may be poised to enter the race.
Developer/showman Donald Trump, who routinely toys with a presidential run about this time in the political cycle, is set to announce his intentions today.
Here's an Associated Press take on his pending decision:
WASHINGTON (AP) - With a presidential field approaching 20 high-profile Republicans, the GOP's 2016 class offers voters a little bit of everything....
06/10/15 Working Life
Florida's economy bounced back in May, adding 19,000 private-sector jobs, second only to longtime jobs king California, according to the latest monthly snapshot released Wednesday by payroll-processing firm ADP.
Though it marks one of the best performances of the year, Florida still lags behind 2014 when it boasted several months of 20,000-plus jobs created. Florida's pace of job creation is currently behind Idaho, Utah, Nevada and the state of Washington....