We would urge Gov. Scott to spend the next four years focusing not on a repackaged promise that has done too little to enhance the quality of life of most Floridians, but rather on what our state needs to do to attract jobs that raise the standard of living for average workers and, in turn, creates economic sustainability for communities across the Sunshine State. Gov. Rick Scott says he has officially kept his jobs promise. Everybody else, pretty much, says he didn’t even come close. Scott announced Friday that with the latest state jobs report, 700,000 new jobs have been created since he took office in January 2011. The governor said that fulfills his 2010 campaign jobs promise. Political opponents and fact checkers, however, have been quick to point out what the governor actually said originally was that he would create 700,000 new jobs in addition to the 1 million jobs economists expected to be created in Florida by 2017 naturally. Big difference, but no matter as Scott starts a second term. While Scott will take credit for 700,000 new jobs, promise fulfilled or not, the reality is that too many of those jobs are in low-paying services jobs such as retail, hospitality and tourism. As Dale Bill, a former director of the state office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development under former Gov. Jeb Bush, wrote in a column in Sunday’s paper, job creation alone is not enough to fuel Florida’s economy and, along with it, the well-being of Florida’s residents. As Brill noted, economic development of the state or our own community depends on more than job creation. The goal, he noted, has to be “improving the economic well-being of the community.” And as the recent United Way ALICE report made clear, 45 percent of Florida households have difficulty making monthly ends meet due to insufficient income. Moreover, Brill noted, things are not getting any better, because Florida’s economy and job market continue to be driven by retirees, tourism and agriculture, known as the Big Three — and all three industries are notorious for paying low, if not minimum, wages. In fact, the average tourism industry worker is actually earning less today than in 2005. We would urge Gov. Scott to spend the next four years focusing not on a repackaged promise that has done too little to enhance the quality of life of most Floridians, but rather on what our state needs to do to attract jobs that raise the standard of living for average workers and, in turn, creates economic sustainability for communities across the Sunshine State. No doubt Scott would point to the relative few high-tech and white collar jobs that have come to our state during his tenure as signs he is doing this already, but, as Brill also noted, when the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation released its rankings of states based on 25 measures — including knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, the digital economy and innovation capacity — Florida fell from 21st place in 2012 to 25th place in 2014. That is going in the wrong direction. Creating any jobs is fine and good and, indeed, welcome. But when too many of those jobs are low wage and insufficient to support a household, it is not enough. If Gov. Scott wants to make a promise, promise us that he will spend the next four years transforming Florida’s economy into one that can provide livable 21st century wages for most of its residents. From Halifax Media Group.
More than five years removed from the Great Recession, worries had taken hold at the start of the year that perhaps the world’s largest economy had slid into a semi-permanent funk.
But consumers, businesses and investors, after enduring a brutal winter, showed renewed vigor as the year wore on and set the United States apart from much of the world.
Stocks repeatedly set record highs and did so again Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average rising modestly to a new peak.
Employers were on pace to add nearly 3 million jobs, the most in 15 years.
Sinking oil prices cut gasoline costs to their lowest levels since May 2009.
Auto sales accelerated.
Inflation was a historically low sub-2 percent.
The U.S. economy proved it could thrive even as the Federal Reserve ended its bond buying program, which had been intended to aid growth by holding down long term loan rates.
All told, the United States remained insulated from the financial struggles surfacing everywhere from Europe and Latin America to China, Japan and Russia.
So what explained the U.S. economy’s resilience this year?
Economists say it largely reflected the delayed benefits of finally mending the damage from the worst downturn in nearly 80 years.
Unlike past recoveries that enjoyed comparatively swift rebounds, this one proved agonizingly slow.
It took 6½ years to regain all the jobs lost to the recession (8.7 million) far longer than during previous recoveries.
“It was a healing process from a severe recession and the financial crisis,” said Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial, a bank based in Alabama.
The healing isn’t complete.
Wage growth remains lackluster and has barely outpaced low inflation.
Home building has been tepid.
But worries earlier this year that the economy might be trapped indefinitely by sluggish growth have largely faded.
Here are the economic highlights of 2014:
Stocks extended their bullish stampede of nearly six years.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed about 13 percent this year, hitting record highs more than 50 times.
Corporate mergers helped drive this year’s gains, along with major companies buying up $400 billion-plus of their own stock.
OIL PRICES PLUNGE
In a gift for U.S. consumers, energy got significantly cheaper.
Crude oil prices were essentially cut in half from this year’s high.
The slowing economies in Europe and Asia curbed demand, while production remained steady.
The price decline trickled down to gasoline pumps.
Average prices nationwide dropped to $2.32 a gallon, down roughly a dollar from a year ago, according to AAA.
Some of that price slowdown has hurt U.S. oil producers, which must weigh layoffs.
But overall, cheaper oil is a positive.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen noted that the falling prices resemble a tax cut, generating savings for consumers that can be spent elsewhere to drive economic growth.
AUTOS SALES UP
Far more Americans splurged on a new car after having held onto aging vehicles during the recession and slow early stages of the recovery.
Sales were on track to increase 6 percent this year, with 16.5 million new vehicles on the road, according to Cars.com.
That would be the best sales pace since 2006.
Employers added 2.65 million jobs over the first 11 months of the year, and the unemployment rate sank to 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent.
When the government announces the December job data next month, the 2014 job total is expected to be just shy of 3 million — the most since the dot-com era in 1999.
Compared with recent years, those gains have been less concentrated in lower-paying industries such as retail, food service and temp agencies.
“We’re finally entering that virtuous cycle phase of the expansion” when more jobs lead to higher incomes, which generates more consumer spending and growth, said Brett Ryan, an economist at Deutsche Bank.
Though average wage growth has been modest, the number of people with paychecks — and the ability to spend — has soared.
If you exclude the economy’s winter-induced 2.1 percent annual contraction in the first quarter of the year, annualized growth has averaged 4.4 percent in four of the past five quarters.
That’s far above the historic average of roughly 3.2 percent in the decades after World War II.
In 2014, economy began shaky, finished strong
AP Economics Writer
Lake County’s 3 hospitals penalized by Medicare
This might sound scary losing some Medicare money but if you think about it your loved ones or you being dead or seriously injured is scarier.
I have been a patient in one and family members in another, the last is too far from but looks like the same results, shoddy work.
31 hospitals in Florida alone need to clean up their act!
Lake County’s three hospitals are among 721 medical facilities across the nation being penalized by Medicare for having high rates of potentially avoidable mistakes that can harm patients, known as “hospital-acquired conditions,” according to a report by Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit news service that focuses on healthcare policy.
Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares, Leesburg Regional Medical Center in Leesburg, and South Lake Hospital in Clermont were among 31 hospitals in Florida on the list facing Medicare penalties.
According to the report, the penalized hospitals will have their Medicare payments reduced by 1 percent over the fiscal year that runs from October 2014 through September 2015.
Kaiser Health News reported that all of the penalized hospitals were evaluated by Medicare on three types of hospital-acquired conditions: Central-line associated bloodstream infections, or CLABSIs; catheter-associated urinary tract infections, or CAUTIs; and serious complications based on eight types of injuries, including blood clots, bed sores and falls.
What about the woman that was a stay at home, tend to the house, children, housework, bills, school functions, shopping and so on,
did they not work just as hard and long if not harder and longer then her mate?
Did they do this without pay?
Well yes, they did this without a paycheck!
Abused Women abused again by this government.
Now this is an interesting article for we that are retired and from a past shall we say, not so great marriage.
This is another form of punishment handed down by this
“Government of the Free”
on our Females!
If you were in a previous marriage for let’s say 30 plus years and for some reason it ends up in divorce,
the female of the marriage cannot get married again and still keep her hard earned part of the marriage
(half of what they both earned together) in social security unless the last spouse is deceased!
However, the male can, beat, cheat, steal and just about anything else in the marriage and never lose his half of the social security?
Our male politicians are saying that the female in the marriage was just along for the ride so what’s the problem?
What is the Fire Assessment?
Mt. Dora leaders consider adding fire assessment fee
Mount Dora is one of the if not the richest town in central Florida and growing every day, so should their protection?
A program to authorized the collection of Fire Assessment Fees to aid in the funding of fire services.
I totally agree that we the public need the protection of our Fire Department for many reasons.
What scares the heck out of me is so much wording from our politicians and the board of directors on the saving to the people!
I am not so sure, thinking back in time, who, how, when or where they ever stayed true to their words?
The special assessment piggyback on the annual property tax bill.
Saves money by reducing the administrative costs of the program results in a stable revenue source to fund Fire Rescue Services,
is more fair to property owners,
The Fire Rescue Services Assessment program will provide a cost-effective and financially stable means.
Funding fire rescue services and facilities for years to come
Stability in insurance rates
Protection of public safety
Enhancement of property value
Better service to property and its occupants
Each fiscal year, an Annual Rate Resolution is adopted by the Board to set the fire assessment rate.
Scott insists he has met jobs promise
Liar, Liar, pants of Fire!
Economists four years ago predicted that Florida would gain about a million jobs in seven years no matter who was governor,
300,000 more than Scott promised.
During the 2010 campaign Scott campaigned on his “7-7-7” plan,
seven steps to create 700,000 jobs over seven years!
Florida Gov. Rick Scott proclaimed Friday that he achieved a key promise from his 2010 campaign, as the state has added more than 700,000 jobs since he took office.
Except that’s not what he promised.
Scott actually said on several occasions that his policies would create 1.7 million jobs by 2018 —700,000 in addition to the 1 million jobs that state economists said would be created naturally as the state recovered from the Great Recession.
After the election, Scott’s aides backed away from that and began citing the 700,000 figure.
Scott repeated that assertion again Friday.
“Four years ago, we unveiled an ambitious plan to fix Florida’s economy and turn the state around,” Scott said in a written statement. “Our goal was to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. Today our goal was reached three years early.”
Scott made his victory declaration during a visit to a central Florida financial services company.
He announced the job figures while also announcing that the state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.8 percent in November, the lowest it has been since May 2008.
The drop was aided by the addition of nearly 42,000 jobs last month.
That addition pushed the total number of jobs created since December 2010 to just over 700,000. Florida trailed only California in the number of jobs added in November.
“Every job impacts a family and we will keep working each day to make Florida the world’s number one destination for jobs,” Scott said.
But Democrats on Friday labeled Scott a liar, citing his past insistence that his policies would create jobs “on top” of normal growth.
“Rick Scott is starting his second term the same as his first,” said Joshua Karp, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party.
“With lies that don’t help the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who can’t find a job because of Tallahassee Republicans who put the special interests first and middle-class families last.”
During the 2010 campaign Scott campaigned on his “7-7-7” plan — or seven steps to create 700,000 jobs over seven years.
The plan called for deep tax cuts, eliminating regulations that he said were hampering business growth and steep cuts in government spending.
Scott insisted that plan has worked even though key parts of the plan, such as eliminating the state’s corporate income tax, have been largely ignored by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Scott did cut the state budget significantly during his first year, but the budget has begun to grow again and is now roughly $77 billion.
It was $70 billion when he took office.
Economists four years ago predicted that Florida would gain about a million jobs in seven years no matter who was governor, or 300,000 more than Scott promised.
Liar, Liar, pants of Fire!
I believe the my Gators acted very foolish, not keeping their coach as the defensive coordinator, time will tell! Auburn hires Muschamp as ‘D’ coordinator
JOHN ZENOR Associated Press AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn hired former Florida coach Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator Friday, hoping he can rebuild a defense that struggled badly late in the season. “I’m excited to welcome Will back to Auburn as our new defensive coordinator,” Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said. “Will is a one of the top defensive minds in college football who has great passion and energy for the game. He is a tremendous addition to our staff.” A person with knowledge of the move said Muschamp will make $1.6 million a year, making him one of college football’s highest paid assistants. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the school didn’t release terms of the deal. “My family, Carol, Jackson, Whit, and I are excited about coming back to Auburn and I look forward to working with coach Malzahn to win championships,” Muschamp said. Muschamp will be introduced at a news conference Saturday. He coached Florida’s final two regular- season games after being fired Nov. 16. Muschamp posted a 28-21 record in four seasons during an up and- down tenure that included an 11-2 record and SEC coach of the year honors in 2012. The Gators’ biggest struggles came on offense not on the side of the ball that is Muschamp’s specialty. Malzahn fired longtime Southeastern Conference defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson after the season. The Tigers (8-4) will face Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in a season when they had national championship aspirations until defensive problems contributed to a late collapse. Auburn ended the regular season with a 55-44 loss to no 1 Alabama. The Tigers allowed an average of 483 yards and 39 points over their last six SEC games, losing four of them. Muschamp was Auburn’s defensive coordinator from 2006-07, and led the nation’s third-ranked scoring defense, allowing 15.4 points per game. He was a finalist for the 2007 Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant coach. Muschamp then spent three seasons as defensive coordinator at Texas before taking over the Florida program. He was also defensive coordinator at LSU from 2002-04 and was the Miami Dolphins’ assistant head coach for defense in 2005 under current Alabama coach Nick Saban. He coached in national championship games in 2003 with LSU and 2009 with Texas. Muschamp’s teams ranked among the nation’s top 10 in total defense in each of his five seasons as an SEC defensive coordinator. His teams twice led the nation in rushing defense. Muschamp’s Texas defenses led the nation with 119 sacks from 2008-10. Auburn struggled to get pressure on the quarterback last season. This is actually his third stop at Auburn, where he was a graduate assistant from 1995-96.
Former Florida head coach Will Muschamp, right, and Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn pose for a photo after a press conference at Auburn University on Saturday in Auburn, Ala. Auburn hired the former Florida coach as defensive coordinator, hoping he can rebuild a defense that struggled badly late in the season. BRYNN ANDERSON / AP