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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

11/24/17: Florida's Amazon Bids, Gov. Scott's Budget, Floridians Helping Others


Several Florida cities, including Jacksonville, are making a play to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to town. Being Black Friday, of course we’ve got a look at the annual shopping tradition. Plus, Gov. Rick Scott’s budget includes more tax breaks, and we’re traveling with Floridians helping out communities in need -- from Central America to Puerto Rico. 

Florida Bids For Amazon

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos grew up in South Florida and says he expects to invest $5 billion building his company’s second headquarters. He plans to hire 50,000 new employees with an average salary of more than 100,000 dollars.

Three South Florida counties joined together to make a play for the company. Palm Beach County Business Development Board President Kelly Smallridge helped put together the bid from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, part of which tries to paint an image of Florida as a place with a technology industry.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry was also among the Florida leaders who answered the Amazon request for proposal. Orlando and Tampa also put in proposals.

WJCT’s Lindsey Kilbride took a look along with Jacksonville Business Journal Editor Timothy Gibbons and Debora Lima of the South Florida Business Journal.

Gov. Rick Scott’s Final Budget

Gov. Rick Scott Budget has proposed a record-high state budget of $87.4 billion for next year. It’s his last budget proposal as he is term-limited out of office after 2018.

Scott is proposing an increase more than $4 billion larger than the current state budget. It includes money for environmental programs, funding to fight the opioid epidemic, pay raises for state troopers, and fee cuts.

After years of cutting state government, Scott is ready to expands the number of full-time state workers by more than 500.

It’s the largest budget Scott has ever proposed, and it’s probably no coincidence that Scott is widely thought to be eyeing a run for U.S. Senate next year.

WJCT Reporter Ryan Benk and AP Reporter Gary Fineout joined us to discuss Scott’s final budget before he leaves office.

Floridians Helping Communities In Need

WGCU reporter Jessica Meszaros recently returned from a week-long assignment in Guatemala. She traveled through rural areas of the Central American country with members of a Southwest Florida community service initiative called The GRACE Project. GRACE stands for the Guatemalan Rural Adult and Children’s Education Project.

Jessica documented the group’s efforts to distribute reusable menstrual kits to women who often lack access to affordable sanitary pads and tampons. 


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