State

News stories impacting Florida.

baby's shoulder
Lisa Williams via Flickr

Blaming a budget shortfall, the Florida Department of Health has laid off most of the administrators at the Early Steps program, which serves babies and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays.

The department said the cuts won't affect services to families. But critics of the move say it will leave the program --- which gets the majority of its funding from the federal government --- unable to meet requirements that keep the money flowing.

The workers received letters of termination Thursday, advising that their last day would be March 2.

JAXPORT / Flickr

The top lobbying group for Florida's seaports wants the state to establish a marketing campaign to help lure cargo-shipping companies from major ports in other areas of the country.

A study released this week by the Florida Ports Council calls for lawmakers to create an advertising effort to entice shipping firms to move cargo through the Sunshine State rather than ports in Savannah, Houston, New York or even Los Angeles.

solar exposure map
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Jacksonville City Councilman and Republican mayoral candidate Bill Bishop was on WJCT's "First Coast Connect" call-in show this week. When a listener asked Bishop why there's not more solar power in Florida, he said a low amount of sunshine is a big factor. But research shows Florida actually has above-average solar potential and production.

tax cut chart
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is proposing to cut taxes on cell phone, cable and satellite services. The governor was at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce this morning to push for the cuts.

Under the governor's plan, a family with a $125 monthly cell phone bill would save just over $50 a year in taxes. Scott says the state can afford losing $470 million in telecom tax revenue because the property and sales tax bases are growing.

JAXPORT

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is inviting energy-industry workers laid off in other places to start new careers in Florida. 

Bloomberg News estimates more than 30,000 oil and gas industry workers have been let go as companies slash budgets amidst declining oil prices. Scott’s administration is posting an open invitation to those workers to come find a job in Florida. The state has created the website Fueling Florida Jobs.com, where job seekers can search openings available through the CareerSource Florida network.

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