Rick Scott

Dave Dunwoody

Gov. Rick Scott signed two bills ceremoniously in Pensacola Thursday, aimed at making Florida even more military and veteran friendly.

House Bill 7023 qualifies additional service members for an ad valorem tax exemption while deployed overseas. Both that, and Senate Bill 222, were sponsored by Niceville state Sen. Don Gaetz.

In this week’s economic report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what local projects were vetoed by the Governor in Florida’s budget and what improvements could mean for the Port of Pensacola.

The largest state budget in Florida’s history – over $82.3 billion – has been signed by Gov. Rick Scott, but only after a veto of $256 million dollars of state projects.

In this week’s economic report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses what’s is (and isn’t) in Florida’s 2016-17 budget. He also discusses the continued development of downtown Pensacola.

As the legislative session winds down for this year, lawmakers will be voting on proposed $82.3 billion state budget. How does this budget reflect the state of Florida’s economy?

Sandra Averhart

One week after a tornado plowed through the town of Century, severe storms Tuesday night brought another devastating tornado to Escambia County. This time a number of Pensacola area residents are glad to be alive as they begin the recovery process.

The twister ripped a path about two miles long, from Northpointe Blvd over to the Grand Baroque town homes along Escambia Bay on Scenic Highway. Here the sounds of generators are humming throughout the neighborhood, as residents begin to pick up the pieces.

Sandra Averhart

Governor Rick Scott met with local officials and the media on Wednesday, to discuss the aftermath of the twister that devastated some neighborhoods in Pensacola the previous night.

The Governor has issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties as a result of the tornado, which damaged more than 100 homes, in addition to the 24 apartments at the Moorings on Old Spanish Trail which were destroyed.

Photo courtesy of NorthEscambia.com

Help is on the way for tornado victims in north Escambia County, through an executive order issued Monday by Gov. Rick Scott.

The Governor’s declaration comes after the Escambia County Commission declared a local state of emergency. Scott also met with Sheriff David Morgan last week aboard NAS Pensacola. Escambia County’s Safety Director Mike Weaver says this opens the door for possible additional funding to the county for housing assistance.

Photo via Flickr// Fairfax County / https://flic.kr/p/ccG8o1

Florida Governor Rick Scott addressed the media Thursday about the state’s response to the Zika virus.  One day after declaring a health emergency in four Florida counties, including Santa Rosa County, the governor, standing next to State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, laid out the state’s plan to combat the virus, beginning with making sure there are enough kits available to test for active cases of the disease.

Gov. Rick Scott delivered his sixth State of the State speech as the legislative session kicked off Tuesday morning. It was focused almost entirely on creating jobs and cutting taxes.

Both of Scott’s campaigns and all five of his previous State of the State speeches have centered on job creation, a point so noted in his prepared remarks.

  The backlash against Syrian refugees coming to America in the wake of the attacks in Paris on Friday is being joined by some of Florida’s elected leaders.

In the fiscal year ending September 30, Florida had accepted about 100 Syrian refugees, placing it among the top six states. President Obama has announced that an additional 10,000 would come in during the current fiscal year, many of whom could come to Florida.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses this year’s annual Gulf Power Economic Symposium held October 11-13 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Destin, FL.

“Think Big; think Northwest Florida,” said Harper referring to the theme of this year’s event, which had over 600 people in attendance.

Florida's unemployment dropped slightly last month June, as the state added about 7,000 jobs according to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

“Today I’m excited to announce that in four years and six months, the state of Florida, the businesses in our state, have added 896,000 jobs,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who made the announcement at ODC Construction in Orlando, where 200 new jobs have been created over the past four years.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses Governor Rick Scott’s signing of Florida’s 2015-2016 Budget and the economic outlook for 2016.

“It’s a big budget,” Harper said, referring to the state’s $78.2 billion budget. “It’s a sign that the economy is recovering, because when people are getting paychecks, when tourists are visiting Florida and paying sales tax on everything they buy, then that means that there are more dollars flowing into state coffers.”

Before signing the new state budget into law, Governor Rick Scott vetoed about $8.2 million in spending for northwest Florida projects. And there’s talk about how some of the cuts may have been made, which is drawing fire from some lawmakers.

Scott signed the nearly $79 billion budget, which takes effect July 1, in his office on Tuesday. But prior to that, he unlimbered his line-item veto pen to the tune of $461 million; believed to be a record for budget vetoes.

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Governor Rick Scott hit the road Monday, to celebrate a $400 million tax cut package he has signed into law. The one-day, seven-city tour wrapped up in Pensacola. 

Scott’s victory lap began early Monday in Fort Myers. From there he made stops in Miami, Greenacres, St. Petersburg, Winter Garden and Jacksonville, before ending at Apple Market on Scenic Highway.

After the ceremony, he explained why he packed seven stops across Florida into one day.

Photo via Flickr// Phalinn Ooi

Pointing to a budget agreement reached by lawmakers, Governor Rick Scott's attorneys withdrew a request for a preliminary injunction in a legal battle with the Obama administration about health care funding.

Upon receipt of the filing, U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers canceled Friday's scheduled hearing.

According to a notice filed in federal court in Pensacola, Scott's attorneys wrote that the lawsuit would continue because the state and federal governments have not agreed on a broader resolution of the Low Income Pool issue.

stpetersblog.com

Gov. Rick Scott's Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding meets for the second time on Tuesday in Orlando. The panel is sifting through mounds of data, to determine whether hospitals that receive tax money are being managed efficiently.

During last week’s inaugural meeting, commission members were incredulous when learning that 72% of all services provided by one facility -- UF Health Jacksonville -- were Medicare or Medicaid — that is, paid for by tax dollars. Chairman Carlos Beruff asked the state Agency for Healthcare Administration for help in sorting out the data.

sacred-heart.org

Uncle Sam is offering a one billion dollar compromise to Florida, regarding the Low Income Pool – which is provided to hospitals to help pay for uninsured and under-insured patients and is scheduled to expire on June 30 if not renewed.

State Senator Don Gaetz made the announcement on Thursday, adding that there are a number of conditions. One is that the LIP money must follow the patient. That’s a catch he says the state has known about for some time.

ricksblog.biz

Gov. Rick Scott's newly created Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding met for the first time on Wednesday. But hospitals have met his request for information by essentially telling him to look it up himself. That includes at least one Pensacola-area facility.

Many of the dozens of surveys returned by hospitals have five or fewer of the roughly 100 lines filled out with new information. Many referred Scott to data already on file with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

Florida will move ahead with online voter registration despite Gov. Rick Scott’s worries.

Citing “some hesitation,” Scott signed Senate Bill 228 on Friday, which mandates an online voter registration system be up and running by October 1, 2017. Sec. of State Ken Detzner -- Florida’s top elected official -- opposed the measure. He pleaded with lawmakers not to pass it but in the end, he stood aside.

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses revised tourism figures from the state of Florida, a slowing U.S economy to start 2015, and job prospects for the graduating Class of 2015.

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