Florida Recovery Act

The economy in Florida is facing many new challenges that it hasn’t seen in quite some time. During these harsh and challenging times, it is no wonder that so many people are highly grateful for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which began in the year 2009. Throughout the course of only three budget years,Florida’s economy will be receiving a total of over twenty eight billion dollars in federal stimulus dollars. These extra dollars will not only help to avoid deep cuts in the state; they will also prevent the state from having to increase taxes, which would in turn further burden the families and businesses of Florida.

The federal recovery package will provide a number of different bonuses to the state, including assistance in education, transportation, compensation for those who are unemployed, renewable energy, and so much more that will be beneficial to the state. The administration founded in Florida wants to work with all of the cities and counties founded throughout Florida, as well as with the Florida Legislature, in finding ways to utilize this extra money as quickly and efficiently as humanly possible.

The number one priority, however, is to make sure a good portion of this money goes toward projects that will boost the economy and promote jobs for citizens of the Sunshine State.

The Florida administration is working extremely hard in advising the Legislature to take quick action to ensure the dollars are received by Florida quickly, so they may begin boosting the economy back up to normal speed. They are aware that the people of Floridaare getting scared and nervous to get their jobs and money back after doing there everyday math, knowing that if it does not happen soon then there may not be housing or even food for these wonderful people.

That being said, the administration is doing everything they can in the way of ensuring that the economy is back on track, and soon. They realize how important it is to have a well running economy so that their citizens can live a happy, secure, and comfortable life. As a citizen of Florida, you can look forward to seeing some economical changes quite frequently, which means more jobs and a better ran system for all.


Florida Unemployment: A Story of Success

Florida is one of the most iconic and famous states in the US. Located on the East Coast, it has the longest concurrent coastline in any state, bordering the states of Alabama and Georgia to the north, the Gulf of Mexico to the southwest, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

Its capital is Tallahassee, and its most populous city is Jacksonville, but the most famous city in the state in undoubtedly Miami, which has the biggest cruise ship port in the world and is usually the first thing that pops into people’s minds when Florida is mentioned. It was the first state in the continental US to be discovered, by Spanish conquistador Ponce de León in 1513. Florida is soon to be one of the main providers for all and will soon spread to the rest of the u.s.

A very famous tourist location, the state also has the Everglades national park, one of the biggest in the world. Though it is always at risk due to hurricanes and storms, and being a state where most of its territory is more or less at sea level, it nevertheless has amazing climate, contributing to the already mentioned tourism economy present. It is no wonder that Florida looks to be a prosperous state, and nothing wrong could be going with it.

Due to the current economic crisis, not even prosperity could have stopped its rising Florida unemployment rates until very recently. What seemed impossible happened; the rising unemployment rate had started to go back down. This is all largely in part thanks to current Florida governor Rick Scott, whose politics have manage to put the state’s unemployment on the decline for nine consecutive months. For four of these, it has remained below 10%.

While it is true that many people from Florida are still looking for work, and 9% is still a very significant number, the positive changes are great news in the midst of bad news everywhere. With hope, other states may follow suit and manage to fight back the general rising unemployment rate, a huge problem in the United States in recent times. Florida’s a shining example of how to act in this situation, and to encourage companies to be able to offer jobs to  more and more people.

Florida has shown that no matter how industrialized or advanced a place you may reside in, you’re always at risk to potentially losing your job. As long as one makes a proper effort, this may change in time and indeed, completely reverse the tendency, making everyone’s lives better in the long run.


Hurricane Season Around the Corner

If you are a resident of South Florida, chances are you’ve noticed the weather start to change recently. Every year around this time the cool temperatures that we’ve come to enjoy over the winter months start to become increasingly rare. Temperature and humidity increases are an all to familiar reminder that the rainy season is approaching. This year it seems as it is coming a bit early as we’ve seen quite a few wet days already. All of us Floridians know that rain is simply something we have to deal with. We all know that during the summer months, rain will come. The only real question is, how much?

Luckily we have been able to escape any big storms for quite some time, 2005 to be exact. That year Florida was hit in late October and caused over 20 billion in Miami water damage. It has been over 7 years since that natural disaster. Last year we had 2 close calls with Issac and Sandy just missing landfall. All of this crazy weather happening has everybody wondering, is Florida due to get hit by a big storm this year. Nobody knows for sure but if the Chicago water damage that is happening right now in the early month of April is any sign, we might be in for a long hurricane season.

Other than living in another state, there is nothing you can do to avoid the possibility of these issues. For the people that make their living in the sunshine state, moving is an unreasonable option to avoid a little rain. What we can do is prepare for the possibility that a big storm does hit landfall. Here is a list of recommendations from FLA Recovery to make sure you know what to do in the event of a hurricane or strong tropical storm.

  • If you are instructed to evacuate, please EVACUATE
  • Board up as many windows/doors as possible
  • Be prepared for extended power outages
  • Buy a generator if possible
  • Have a full tank of gas in your car and reserves
  • Stock up on water and food that will not spoil
  • Stay as far inland as possible
  • Avoid going outside at all costs
  • Get you home inspected prior to hurricane season

Hopefully we’ve opened your eyes to some steps that you can take to preparing yourself for this coming hurricane season. We sincerely hope that we are lucky enough to avoid any major storms altogether for at least one more year!


Florida Real Estate on the Rise

In an ironic twist of fate, it looks as if the one thing that put our economy into a tailspin may be slowly bringing us out. When the housing bubble burst, just about everyone was negatively impacted in one way or another. Real estate agents, home builders, contractors, and investors have all lost a substantial amount of money. With our economy in a recession and good paying jobs getting harder to come by, it is understandable that people have been less willing to invest in a new home. Another reason for the dip in home purchases is the difficulty in getting a loan. This is a reasonable consequence of the bubble bursting, since giving loans to people who could not afford them was part of the problem in the first place.

After some years of futility it appears that the housing market is back on the rise and South Florida is seeing improvement as well. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Broward County’s local newspaper, the average sale of a home has risen 9% over the past year. It’s neighbor to the north, Palm Beach county has seen even better increases of 20%. Broward county has also seen an increase in the number of homes sold. When comparing 2012 to 2011, there has been a 24% increase in purchases.

These stats are very encouraging and indicate that we are on the right track to economic recovery. An increase in real estate sales benefits numerous industries both directly and indirectly in the field. Typically when people purchase a home they use services like home inspectors to see if their are any problems. A representative of MI&T, a local mold inspection company reports, “Business has most certainly increased.” After purchasing a home, people usually make improvements and changes to customize their new purchase. That means buying materials and hiring contractors. All of these things stimulate the economy and increase jobs.

With the prices of real estate on the rise, many people are thinking now is a great time to purchase a home. Having people in this mindset is a great thing for our economy rather than being scared of entering the market due to fear. Whether or not these trends continue and prices continue to increase and promote economic growth remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, things look much more promising today than they did a couple of years ago.


Florida’s Stimulus Money Has Run Dry?

In spite of Florida’s Stimulus money for recovery, Palm Beach County, Florida, found itself with 2400 fewer government workers last year, as reported by Florida’s Economic Opportunity Department; who recently released these employment figures. Job cuts and property tax collection shrinkage, as well as the decline of home values, has affected the economy in a drastic way, dragging down the recovery and causing shrinkage in capital projects. Federal stimulus money was infused into the economy statewide to the sum of about two and a half billion, yet the decline was not slowed much, and these funds have dried up.

Economists theorize that with local government being forced to scale back in lieu of the end of the stimulus, inadvertent damage is done, and the government cannot take complete blame. Other groups, like Wells Fargo, say that the cutbacks forced governments to adapt more frugal spending habits after years of being frivolous and spending rampantly like plantar fasciitis without much regard. Unfortunately, job and economic growth was affected and this out of control spending now tempered with the current cutbacks will likely do more harm than good; most certainly it will not serve to help the economy much at all.

Regardless of the boost in growth that lasted for 2 years the fourth quarter GDP measure from 2011 measured in at 2.8%, which was lower than expected. Consumers spent money during the holiday season in December as the inventories were boosted by merchants, but the monies were not spent as freely as previous years and resorted to tapping into their savings accounts and utilizing the 2 percent personal consumption gain.

In 2005, Governments overall consumption was found to topple down to at least 7.3 % since the third quarter, but consumption has been decreased over the course of subsequently 6 quarters and the better part of the past three years. This spending could likely influence a quarter of the difference responsible for the entire nation’s growth rate during the next two years or so. Growth rates have been predicted to be as low as below 3% this year alone.

While Florida’s stimulus recovery money seemed to patch the gap in the economy at the time, in its absence, Government is now forced to make daunting decisions in regards to budget cuts and balancing a reasonable State budget. It must take up the reigns and temper itself with more prudent and responsible spending habits. Such an endeavor takes time, and everyone must be on board, members of government and the constituents. In this way, everyone shares the responsibility of getting back on track to restoring a viable and thriving economy.


Florida’s Economy is No Longer on Life Support

According to the state of Florida, Florida’s Economy is starting to see a lot of improvements. Since the beginning, of the national recession which began in December of 2007, Florida is finally starting to see an upwards turn. Although numbers seem to be increasing it will still be some time before Florida digs itself completely out of the pit it has fallen into.

Florida’s economy has gained jobs, but there is still much room for improvement.

• The rate of non-farm jobs increased by 1 percent, compared to the national increase of 1.5 percent.

• Florida created 72,300 jobs, but it is a poor number compared to the 766,900 jobs that arrived during the employment peak.

• Florida’s unemployment rate measured at 9.4 percent, leaving 869,000 residents without work.

The population is beginning to show a growth within elderly age groups.

• The population of Florida is estimated to grow by a 5.1 million people between the years 2010 to 2030.

• The highest population increase is projected to be in the 70 to 79 age group, followed by those in their sixties.

• The slowest population increase is found in those who are in their fifties, being at just 1 percent. Those in their forties will make up 5 percent of the increase.

• Those aged 80 and older will make up for more than 10 percent of the increase.

• Children being ages 0-17 will grow by 15 percent, leaving the 18-29 age groups to make up 10 percent while those in their thirties will increase by about 14 percent.

The housing market of Florida has improved, but is still struggling greatly. As for credit conditions found among citizens, the conditions have been improving slowly, leaving credit tight for the time being. As for the consumer sentiment, it is on the rise in Florida at a high level of 74, which is not far from the national trend.

The economy of the country is slowly making its recovery and credit markets are regaining their stability; however, credit markets do remain quite sluggish which makes it difficult for consumers to access to credit easily these days. The housing recovery in Florida will thrive by having lower priced homes to attract buyers, especially now that demand has grown due to the outstanding population growth. The retirement homes are also on the rise due to a growth in elderly citizens flocking to Florida for retirement, which will in turn help the economy to grow.


Scott Approves Florida Education Funding

Governor Rick Scott recently stamped his approval to a bill which greatly affected Florida education funding. This move will aid in reducing a surplus in state spending and sets aside money in the budget that can be applied towards funding for education. This approval is a nod and an attempt to support Florida’s educational system and sends a message that education is at the top of the priority list when it comes to the state budget.

Many have applauded the Governor for making such a wise move on the basis that this has provided a 143 million cut out of a 70 million budget whereas, in the past, education was not given priority and suffered from deep cuts and even now will be challenged by its poor record in regards to k-12 and higher education.

Another very wise move on Scott’s part was to select an A school from St. Johns as one of the basis for signing off his approval. This was wise because St. Johns is one of the well-funded and claims the 8th position within the entire state. Scott has since boasted that this would provide over one million dollars in funding for education. Some have voiced that perhaps this announcement was a bit cynical given that this year’s funding per individual pupil comes to around 6.3 k and is slightly more than last year, is really at least $800 less than five years prior.

Not only that but the one million does not even close the gap to the over one billion cut in funding a year ago. It has been suggested that perhaps Scott would have been better off to have selected poor district to prove his point rather than a lucrative district. Also, he failed to mention higher education and went further to endorse and veto a bill that gives three hundred million less to another growing university program.  It has truly been a pain to get over the veto but it will come in time.

Some have questioned if, given his choice of highlighting an A school over a less prominent and needy one, says that he is just full of big talk and has more deceptive motives than what he appears.

All in all, the gesture has given him a more positive boost in his reputation having pressed the idea that this would increase spending for education by one billion for the year. He does insist that he regards improvement in Florida’s education system is a high priority and that Florida education funding is extremely important.

By vetoing certain sections of this bill, He did send a message to lawmakers that while he is completely on board with providing for and establishing a budget which allows the educational system in Florida to flourish, he would not support or approve of excess spending and wishes the state to remain frugal in these hard economic times.


Florida Tax Relief

Florida tax relief seems to be on its way as the Florida House and Senate pushed a last minute tax relief package, aimed at the recovery of businesses, worth over 8 million dollars less than two days before the conclusion of its state legislative session. Known as the “Reemployment Assistance” bill it is estimated to save companies somewhere around 550 million during the next eighteen months, as well as the overall 800 million within the next three years.

The bill has been given much support, having its major support from a strong group of businesses who insist and support that companies need more relief than they currently have received in order to balance the 817 million dollar unemployment tax imposed this year. The package had been presented as an amendment to a previously proposed bill focused on revamping the state’s unemployment compensation program by calling it “reemployment assistance” and now sits waiting for approval by Gov. Rick Scott.

Thanks to this bill, minimum compensation for unemployed workers would be lowered to around $121.00 per employee as opposed to the previous $171.00 and this spells a significant cut of over eight million dollars during the course of the next three years. This alone will provide needed relief for businesses and employees, and will help the economy tremendously. It’s difficult to predict what effect it will have on Florida’s hurting finances and some fear that such a plan stood the chance of creating vulnerability towards a second recession.

Borrowing more than two billion dollars alone from the U.S. Government since ‘09 just to repay unemployment claims, Florida’s interest repayment was accumulated to over fifty-six billion in interest rates. This bill allows the rate to be slowed down which enables repayment that provides an opportunity for building a future surplus.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce named Bogdanoff, the presenter of the original bill, as well as the amendment, Most Valuable Legislator. Bogdanoff presented the amendment on February 27th in front of the last stop of the committee process.

While some lawmakers attempted to cry foul and thought to block it through procedural grounds, it was deemed to be the best bill to have come from the House but that its improper vetting may have prevented the benefit from being as clear as it could have been. Regardless, the amendment was passed with a vote from 108 to 11 and will accompany other tax relief programs in providing Florida tax relief worth over 150 million dollars.

There may have been some objection during the initial presentation of the original bill; the overall consensus is positive and many look for relief for businesses.

© Florida Economic Recovery 2013

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