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Monday's Daily Pulse

Floridian sentiment drops, in contrast with national consumer outlook

Consumer sentiment among Floridians dropped 2.1 points in July to 66.8, down from a revised figure of 68.9 in June. The decline contrasts with national consumer sentiment, which surged over seven points. “Despite a resilient labor market in Florida with an unemployment rate holding steady at 2.6% since January and a labor force that surpassed 11 million workers for the first time in June, Floridians are more pessimistic in July,” said Hector H. Sandoval, director of the Economic Analysis Program at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. [Source: UF News]

Florida’s controversial laws impacting convention business

A slew of new bills signed into law by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has draped the Sunshine State in controversy, spurring protests, lawsuits and travel advisories warning the state is “openly hostile” toward people of color, immigrants, women and LGBTQ+ community members. The fallout is starting to spread to a key economic artery for an income-tax-free state heavily reliant upon tourism taxes: Florida’s convention business. More from Yahoo Finance and CNN.

COVID takes a back seat: Here are the 2023 health threats getting all the buzz in Florida

Florida has seen multiple scares surrounding diseases since the beginning of the year which may grab the attention of people concerned with their health and potential risks. Leprosy, the rare disease which mostly affects the skin and peripheral nerves, may possibly even become endemic in the southeastern U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [Source: Pensacola News Journal]

One of Florida’s major citrus growers sees its harvest decrease by about 50 percent

Alico, Inc., a major Florida citrus grower, saw its harvest decrease 51 percent during the recently completed season, after Hurricane Ian hammered the industry, according to a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing this week. The filing said the Fort Myers-based company harvested about 2.7 million boxes of fruit during the nine-month period that ended June 30 — a period that generally corresponds with the 2022-2023 citrus season [Source: WUSF]

String of fish kills along Florida Keys ring more hot water alarms. Is seagrass next?

Researchers blame soaring sea surface temperatures off the southern coast of Florida that have at at time approached 100 degrees and are running some seven degrees above normal. The toll, for now, has mainly been to smaller fish that live in shallow water and are more vulnerable to heat stress and low oxygen levels. The 13 species documented so far include mojarras, grunts and toadfish, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. [Source: Miami Herald]


› Tupperware may not go out of business after all
The company, which just four months ago said it had doubts about whether it can remain afloat announced late Thursday that it had reached a deal with its creditors to reduce its interest payment obligations by $150 million. It also secured $21 million in new financing, an extension on the deadline for paying back about $348 million in debt and a reduction in the amount of debt it owes by around $55 million.

› Orange County tourist tax collections drop for 3rd straight month
Tourist development tax collections in Orange County were down for another month in year-over-year comparisons after reaching an all-time high in March. Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond said the county collected $30,028,300 in June 2023, down 7.3% compared to June 2022 when the county collected $32,360,400. The tourist development tax is levied on room nights at hotels, vacation rentals and other lodgings.

› UNF survey finds rising interest rates dampening economic outlook
Rising interest rates are dampening the economic outlook for the Jacksonville area, according to a monthly survey by the University of North Florida’s Local Economic Indicators Project. The university’s Jacksonville Economic Monitoring Survey of Northeast Florida manufacturing companies found nine of 12 indicators contracting in July.

› What’s polluting Tampa Bay’s water? A new study maps its ‘nutrient fingerprint’
Equipped with high hopes and an arsenal of cutting-edge technology, scientists have embarked on a new quest to scope out the sources of Tampa Bay’s pollution. Is the water at your favorite bayside park dirty from a leaky sewage pipe? An upstream farm? Your neighbor’s over-fertilized lawn? That’s the central question driving a new, two-year study that will document the health of Tampa Bay’s water monthly.

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› Warning signs go up in Satellite Beach after reports of dog seen in croc's mouth
A slew of new warning signs about crocodiles are turning up throughout the canal-lined neighborhoods in Satellite Beach as Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers continue to investigate claims that a small dog was seen in the mouth of a crocodile.

› Revamped St. Pete development plan approved: Condos out, offices in
The developers behind Orange Station in St. Petersburg have won approval for a revised plan for the site of the city’s former police headquarters that eliminates condominiums but adds a hotel and more office space. The St. Pete City Council voted 6-1 Thursday to approve the plan. The lone dissenting vote was cast by Richie Floyd, who represents District 8. Lisset Hanewicz, who represents District 4, was absent.

› An in-depth look at Mayor Deegan's first budget: A $1.75 billion plan
When the Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee gavels in the first of seven budget hearings Aug. 8, its members will vet a proposed record $1.75 billion city budget and the third-most expensive Capital Improvement Plan in the past decade at $406 million. In the weeks after her election and in her first 17 days in office, Mayor Donna Deegan worked to put her stamp on a city budget that was well underway before she took office July 1.

› KSC’s Taste of Space events star celebrity chefs, astronauts
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Taste of Space will include special menus at the attraction’s restaurants, as well as two after-hours events with astronauts, celebrity chefs and something appropriately called a Marstini. Visitors will be able, for example, to order new items at Orbit Cafe (loaded sweet potato topped with maple cinnamon butter and bacon), Red Rock Grill (walking nachos with chili cheese and jalapenos), Milky Way (fried apple pie), Moon Rock Cafe (turkey brie wrap with arugula and cranberry mayo) and Space Bowl Bistro (roasted Brussels sprouts with cranberries, pecans, parmesan and bacon).