Capitol to Courthouse Headliners: Tuesday, January 6

Jan 6, 2009


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First Southern Bank to get $10.9M in TARP money

First Southern Bank has become the first South Florida-based bank to receive preliminary approval to receive money from the federal Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).


Task force aims to lessen Citizens’ risk exposure

A state task force today will consider ways to shrink Citizens Property Insurance and reduce its exposure to windstorm risk.


Raymond James CEO says company can’t buy back auction-rate securities

A billion-dollar auction-rate securities nightmare continues to haunt St. Petersburg’s Raymond James Financial.


Lee gives green light to red-light camera

Cameras soon will show if you have run a red light in Fort Myers at Colonial Boulevard and Summerlin Road.


Mutual Benefits officials charged

Top officials of viatical- and life-settlement company Mutual Benefits were charged in a 25-count indictment.

Marking the culmination of a more than four-year investigation, federal prosecutors have charged the top officials of one-time Fort Lauderdale viatical- and life-settlement firm Mutual Benefits with defrauding some 28,000 investors of more than $830 million.


Uninsured can get health plans as state’s Cover Florida program opens

The first day of the state’s low-cost, bare-bones Cover Florida health insurance program started with a flurry of interest from uninsured Floridians on Monday, but also with confusion and glitches.


Florida lawmakers propose raising traffic fines

Special session to fix budget deficit starts with news of lower revenue

Amid concerns that the state’s finances continue to deteriorate, Florida legislators on Monday drastically deepened expected spending cuts and unveiled increased traffic fines that will slap speeders with an extra $25 per violation to patch a leaky state budget.


State may consider new taxes

Learning that state revenue fell by another $100 million last month, Florida lawmakers began their new year on Monday preparing to cut some $1 billion in funding for schools, nursing homes and other government services as they try to resolve a deficit in the state budget.


Florida’s Budget deficit could grow $700 million by June 30

Florida is even deeper in the red than expected and the state deficit could grow by another $700 million by the end of this budget year, lawmakers learned Monday as they began their special session to balance the budget.


Florida Legislature to focus on cutting spending first, according to Republican leadership

Florida legislators today began a two-week special session, cutting close to $2.3 billion out of the state’s already-reduced state budget to cope with tough economic times. Democrats tried to get a cigarette tax, or some other revenues, on the table for negotiation at the start of the session. But the Republican leadership signaled that it is intent on cutting first — especially in the House, where the minority party’s tax attempt fizzled in a procedural vote.


Governor Crist Outlines Economic Stimulus Plan Targeting Florida’s Small Businesses

Meets with economic development organizations to discuss initiative

Governor Charlie Crist today, continuing his commitment to Florida’s economy, met with economic development organization leaders to discuss his Economic Stimulus Plan targeting small Florida-based companies with high growth potential through small loans and business support services. The aim is to give these small businesses the resources and incentives they need to expand and create new jobs now, even amidst the economic downturn affecting Florida and the nation.


Wielding some political clout

There is no money in the state budget to fight over. But the political clout that the region’s 10-member delegation to Florida’s Legislature has accumulated over the years is still expected to play a critical role.


Freshmen congressmen settling in ahead of swearing-in Tuesday

U.S. congressmen-elect Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, and Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, are stepping into a job this week that requires their immediate attention on a deepening global financial crisis.


Jeb Bush’s decision on U.S. Senate run due

Will Jeb Bush run? A decision is expected soon on the Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez but no one’s sure what the answer will be.

Republican excitement over the prospect of Jeb Bush running for U.S. Senate has given way to increasing speculation that the former governor will stay out of the race.


Mining firm denies U.S. Sugar lease is void

A proposed 7,000-acre rock mine remains a hulking obstacle to the state’s proposed $1.34 billion purchase of nearly all of U.S. Sugar Corp.’s farmland.


COLUMN:   Florida court slaps democracy, troops

Is the Florida Supreme Court anti-military? Does Florida’s growth machine give a damn?

A 4-3 ruling issued just before Christmas erected an impenetrable blockade for servicemen and women seeking to participate in their communities’ electoral process.


2009 Florida Industry Outlook

The good, the bad in real estate, financial, tech & biotech, retail, tourism, government, manufacturing, energy, agriculture and health.

First, the bad news: Florida is seeing its sharpest decline in gross state product in 16 years. Job losses are among the highest in the nation. The unemployment rate in Florida stood at 7% in October. Just a month earlier, it was 6.6%; a year earlier, 4.3%. There are 156,200 fewer Floridians with jobs now.


Life Insurers Want NAIC To Act On Capital Proposal

Life insurers are urging state regulators to change capital and surplus reporting rules in time to affect the 2008 financial statements.


Catastrophe Losses, Credit Crisis Push Reinsurance Pricing Upwards, According to Guy Carpenter Review

Property Catastrophe Rates Increase by 8 Percent After Two Consecutive Years of Declines; Market Remains Highly Volatile

High catastrophe losses and the continuing international credit crisis pushed property catastrophe rates up by 8 percent at the January 1, 2009, reinsurance renewals period, according to a briefing on global reinsurance market conditions published by Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, the leading global risk and reinsurance specialist.


New Orleans Levee Boards Settle Breach Case For $20 Million

Government units in charge of New Orleans levees that were breached or overtopped during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have agreed to pay $20.8 million to owners of properties damaged by the flooding.


Allstate To Raise California Homeowners’ Insurance Rates 6.9%

The California Department of Insurance has approved Allstate Insurance’s request to raise its homeowners multi-peril insurance rates 6.9 percent.


CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging:  Time to fix country’s long-term care system

Today, about 38 million Americans are 65 or older. In just 20 years, that number will double.


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