Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida's tourism numbers dip in second quarter
Florida drew an estimated 33.092 million visitors during the quarter, keeping the state slightly ahead of an overall record pace of visitors in 2022. But the figure from April through June represented a 1.2 percent decrease from the second quarter of 2022, when it totaled 33.485 million. Tourists from other parts of the U.S., who make up the bulk of Florida travelers, were off an estimated 2.4 percent from the same period in 2022. [Source: News Service of Florida]
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Feds say Florida is failing to help many at risk of losing Medicaid
As more than 120,000 Florida children have lost Medicaid coverage since April, Florida families looking for help have struggled to get through to state help lines. Average call center wait times in May was 32 minutes while 38% of callers gave up waiting for an answer, according to state data reported to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Florida also failed to process 90% of new Medicaid applications within a 45-day window. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida law meant to turbocharge affordable housing construction has kicked up a backlash
The Florida Legislature was widely praised this year when it passed sweeping legislation designed to supercharge construction of affordable housing by directing hundreds of millions of dollars in low-interest loans and big tax breaks to developers. But in the early days of implementation in South Florida, the Live Local Act is running into significant roadblocks because of another, less-publicized feature of the law that went into effect July 1: Provisions that override local zoning controls on building height and density. [Source: Miami Herald]
More cases of locally acquired dengue reported in Florida as virus continues to spread
Florida health officials are issuing a warning about dengue as the virus continues to increase in South Florida. Four cases of locally acquired dengue were reported in Miami-Dade County and for the first time in Broward County, during the week ending Aug. 5, according to a report from Florida Health. In total, 10 cases of the mosquito-borne illness have been reported in the state this year, with cases first occurring in January and March before returning this summer, the report said. More from ABC News and the Pensacola News-Journal.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› After years of delays, Florida Capitol's front doors will reopen with new look
The front doors of the Florida State Capitol will be reopened to the public this fall as an extensive renovation project to bring the building in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act nears completion. Phase one of a $45 million redesign that replaces hundreds of steps of a multi-tier plaza that extends from Duval Street up a hill to the Capitol building with elevators and ramps will be completed this fall.
› Tampa Electric expects lower bills
Pointing to lower costs for power-plant fuel, Tampa Electric Co. said Wednesday it expects to reduce customer bills in 2024. Tampa Electric and other utilities increased bills this year because of issues such as higher-than-expected prices of natural gas. But in a news release Wednesday, Tampa Electric said it has filed proposals at the Florida Public Service Commission that, if approved, will lead to decreases.
› Cape Coral making new economic plan to prepare for population boom
Cape Coral preparing to be twice its size; is starting work on a new economic development plan The City of Cape Coral continues to be a major draw to people moving to Florida. The city grows at record paces, putting us on the map for one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Cape leaders from nearly every department are meeting with a consulting group studying how to keep up with this growth and pull more people and businesses in. The bottom line is, it’s going to take a lot of work – and a lot of money.
› Miami fintech secures $100 million loan from venture capital firm
A local startup that provides payroll loans to federal employees through its website has obtained a multimillion-dollar loan from an out-of-state venture capital firm. Dania Beach-based Blincloans, which does business as OneBlinc, secured a $100 million credit facility loan from New York-based Clear Haven to help fund the fintech's portfolio future growth. Credit facility loans allow the borrowing business to take out money over an extended period of time rather than reapplying for a loan each time.
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