It’s really gone: Gov. Ron DeSantis slashed $131 million from the state budget in the waning hours of last week, vetoes that hit colleges and universities across the state. The University of Central Florida notably lost out on $1.7 million for a project scheduled to open and house students two months from now. Dimmer futures: DeSantis also signed the 2019 higher education package into law, solidifying massive changes to the state's Bright Futures scholarships. About 17,000 fewer students would qualify for the awards in 2023-24, a shift that could create a ripple effect on higher education.
Tampa Bay Times
Three jobs to put a roof over your head? A new national study shows how far housing prices are beyond the reach of many working Floridians. It’s an alarming snapshot of the economy that highlights the struggle for low-income families, and it underscores the need for state and local governments to do more to expand access to affordable homes. A worker making Florida’s minimum hourly wage of $8.46 would have to work 108 hours a week — close to the equivalent of three full-time jobs — to afford a modestly priced two-bedroom apartment in the state, according to a study released this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington advocacy group.
For most of recent American history, presidential campaigns have largely overlooked the question of housing. It's subject to local zoning laws and varies too much across markets to have federal-level arguments about the topic, the thinking goes. Even after the mortgage market tanked the economy, candidates rarely talked about housing as something they had that much power to influence. That's changing in 2020 — in a big way. The Democratic presidential field is littered with proposals to ease the affordability crunch plaguing America's most prosperous cities.
Spectrum News 13
A new study shows just how hard it is for working class people to afford a place to live in the Orlando Metro area. It ranks Florida 15th in the U.S. for least affordable housing. Jaunita Wright is a soon-to-be Habitat for Humanity homeowner in Central Florida. But it’s been a long road to get here. “I went from being homeless to living on the streets,” Wright said. Wright wasn’t homeless because she wasn’t working though — she has a job at a local auto auction.
Sun Port Charlotte
If Charlotte County commissioners approve the next step in the Ackerman Avenue neighborhood septic to sewer conversion project, residents can take steps too. Commissioners will hear the proposal update at today’s board meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. at Murdock Circle. A public hearing on the project is now scheduled for Nov. 12. If approved, residents would start paying the assessment installments in November 2020. Construction on the vacuum station could begin this fall. If the board approves the next step today, the utilities department can send out applications to residents for unity of title or deferment.
In order to address mounting problems after the global recycling crash, one Florida county is looking to take back control of its local recycling system. But first, it will have to end past squabbles. Broward County commissioners recently approved a memorandum of understanding for an integrated waste plan under a new political subdivision, but it still requires buy-in from cities representing at least half of the county's 2 million residents. Getting enough municipalities onboard by the Sept. 30 deadline could prove difficult. Only a few years ago, cities chose to abandon a similar interlocal agreement and forge waste management contracts on their own.
State leaders and powerful business groups are trying to kill a proposed constitutional amendment that would lead to major changes in the way Floridians get electricity. Opponents, including Attorney General Ashley Moody, legislative leaders, business groups and utilities, filed 13 briefs late last week at the Florida Supreme Court arguing that the proposal should be blocked from going on the November 2020 ballot. The briefs were the latest batch of arguments about the proposal, which would uproot the long-established regulatory structure that leads to residents and businesses in much of the state receiving electricity from four utilities: Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co. and Gulf Power.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not done fighting for Florida to be the home of the newly formed Space Command, despite the U.S. Air Force’s insistence that only Colorado, California and Alabama are still in the running. The nation’s 11th combatant command doesn’t have a headquarters yet, but the Air Force — the military branch overseeing Space Command — last month released its shortlist of six potential sites it’s still eyeing. Despite an aggressive campaign by the state to pursue the headquarters, Florida didn’t make the list.