In 2006, Florida voters adopted a constitutional amendment requiring the development of a Long-Range Financial Outlook. This Outlook contains fiscal strategies for the state and its various departments to assist our Florida Legislature in making budget decisions. The Legislative Budget Commission is required to issue the Outlook by September 15 every year.
This year’s Outlook, released a few weeks ago, contained great news for Florida. The plan forecasts that Florida will have an incredible $635.4 million dollar surplus this upcoming fiscal year and will remain positive for the next two years. Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director, Jesse Panuccio, says that Florida’s economic growth “is what happens when taxes are kept low and regulation is kept in check.”
As far as foreclosures, Florida still has the highest rate of foreclosures in the country, but the activity is down 22% from last year. According to an article in the Miami Herald, about 95,000 Florida homes are currently in foreclosure. This number is expected to decrease as the housing market continues to improve. In fact, Florida’s median home prices are up 8.1%.
Florida’s annual job growth rate has exceeded the nation’s growth rate for the past three years. Florida, currently has its lowest unemployment rate in 7 years at 5.3%.
And this is on the wake of more exciting news for our wonderful Space Coast. A few weeks ago billionaire Amazon.com founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced that he is moving Blue Origin, his private space company, to the Space Coast, creating over 300 new jobs. His plan is to build reusable rockets at Exploration Park and launch them from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Unlike prior Cape space companies, Blue Origin has no government and no commercial launch contracts. Orbital rocket launches are expected to begin late this decade and will likely include manned and unmanned rockets. This is also exciting news given the fact that scientists now believe there is liquid water currently on Mars. Space exploration may become thriving and Florida is right in the middle of the action.
I don’t know about you, but I find it very refreshing to hear good news, especially when it involves our own Sunshine State. Florida’s future looks bright, and I’m happy to call it my home. I’m sure you are too.
Yours in Community,
Alan Garfinkel, Esq. Katzman Garfinkel, Founding Partner
Community Advocacy Network (CAN), Chairman