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The 2015 Southwest Florida Sustainability Summit takes place April 30th. The event brings together a broad spectrum of local experts for a series of panel discussions and workshops related to planning for a sustainable future for the region. This year’s theme is, “Quality of Life for Today & Tomorrow.” We’ll hear from event speakers and organizers with a focus on exploring the current status and future potential growth of Southwest Florida’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) industries. We’ll also look at local STEM education initiatives from elementary school through higher education for a look at how we’re preparing students to enter careers in STEM fields. We’ll also explore how STEM growth relates to the greater goals of sustainability and a strategic sustainability plan for Southwest Florida. 

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A bill to extend the state's gambling agreement with the Seminole tribe by a year has made it through a Senate committee. But, along the way, it picked up some gambling expansion amendments that cost it some support. 

Market Outlook 2015

Apr 1, 2015
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Florida Gulf Coast University hosts the Market Outlook 2015 Conference April 3. The annual forum brings together economic experts, students and the local business community for a review and in depth analysis of the local, regional and national economies. The event also includes projections for what’s expected to be a rapidly changing economic scene in the coming year. This year’s speakers include Federal Reserve Bank Executive Vice President and Director of Research, David Altig along with Fannie Mae Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Douglas Duncan. We’ll explore the latest information and insights on the regional and national economies. 

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A recent report said the Sunshine State makes its lowest wage earners pay much more of their income in taxes than its top earners.  

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Florida is the largest citrus producer in the U.S. and the second largest producer of orange juice in the world. The industry has a $9 billion a year economic impact on the state accounting for about 76,000 jobs. Not long ago, citrus groves covered about 800,000 acres of land in Florida. Today, that’s down to just over 400,000 acres due in large part to the devastating impacts of citrus diseases like greening. The disease, which originated in Southern China, was first discovered in South Florida in 2005 and has since become endemic throughout the state’s citrus producing regions.

This week, just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reduced its citrus harvest estimate for the current season, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putman announced he’s calling on lawmakers to increase funding to fight greening and secure the industry’s future. Meanwhile the Fort Myers-based Alico, Inc. announced last month it’s buying three citrus operations in central Florida for $363 million dollars making the company the largest citrus producer in the U.S. We’ll explore the status of Florida’s current citrus crop, the value of the state’s citrus industry and ongoing efforts to develop new strategies to combat greening. 

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