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Column: Investing in nature is a better way to meet Florida's needs
We all depend on healthy lands and waters in Florida for jobs, food, security and prosperity. In turn, these irreplaceable natural resources depend on all of us, including our elected officials. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump's recent budget proposal doesn't meet that end of the bargain. It slashes some critical conservation and environment programs through dramatic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department, Agriculture Department, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and more. Conserving our nation's natural resources is not a partisan issue, and it is not optional. Nature is essential to our well-being, and it offers solutions to some of the greatest economic and security challenges we face. Tampa Bay Times
Submitted 14 hours ago

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Trump is Right to Focus on American Manufacturing
In 2009, as the devastating effects of the Great Recession were being felt across America and joblessness became a plague upon our nation, I went to Washington, D.C. to tell our elected leaders that bailing out the big Wall Street banks would not be sufficient to save our economy. I explained that we would also need rescue loan support for the small and mid-sized manufacturing companies that have long formed the bedrock of American industry and employ millions of Americans but that have been devastated by decades of unbalanced trade policy. At the time, my views were considered protectionist, and I was warned that the industrial policy I believed would even the playing field would instead inspire trade wars. But it is time that the truth is told that our policies and regulations have left many manufacturing companies with no option other than to liquidate. Had the playing field been even and equitable, many American manufacturing companies would have flourished and new ones would been born. Huffington Post
Submitted 15 hours ago

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Commentary: Enterprise Fund gives Texans’ money to their competitors
In 2013 and 2014, then-gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott expressed skepticism about corporate welfare. His predecessor, Governor Rick Perry, had no such qualms. Perry had established the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) in 2003 to help attract out-of-state businesses by dispensing “economic development” incentives. It grew to become the largest closing fund of its kind in the country. But candidate Abbott wasn’t impressed. He repeatedly worried about corporate welfare cronyism, saying, “government should get out of the business of picking winners and losers.” However, when asked whether this meant he would discontinue the TEF—a program that does just that—the candidate did not directly answer. Austin American Statesman
Submitted 16 hours ago

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The Complexity of Simplicity in Government
Complexity, says Brookings Institution social mobility expert Richard V. Reeves, “is the friend of the upper middle class.” To me, Reeves’ observation provides insight into the insidious way governments can, even without realizing it, work against the bulk of the people they seek to serve. It reminds me of my days as a social worker, when a lot of my clients would ask me to interpret government letters and forms for them. I worked for the state of Pennsylvania, but the forms they brought to me were from the city, the county, the state, the feds. It didn’t matter -- it was all “the government” to them, and the special skill I brought was that I could interpret bureaucratese. Governing.com
Submitted yesterday

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Happiness: Redefining the Formula for Genuine Prosperity
The success of a government must be defined by ‘its ability to facilitate the happiness and wellbeing of its citizens, and this should replace old paradigms that focus overwhelmingly on economic performance.’ This was the consensus that emerged amongst leaders, from both the public and private sectors, who attended the World Government Summit held in Dubai one month ago. Triplepundit.com
Submitted yesterday

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Will 'Animal Spirits' Fire Up the U.S. Economy?
President Donald Trump and his supporters have been quick to assert that his aggressively pro-business outlook and agenda have stirred up positive "animal spirits" in the U.S. economy, a phrase coined by British economist John Maynard Keynes in 1930s. No doubt, many measures of optimism and confidence among consumers, small business owners, corporate CEOs and CFOs have soared since the election, some of them to longtime or all-time highs, the Wall Street Journal reports. Such confidence and optimism, in turn, has been a factor fueling stock prices, as bullish investors see a virtuous cycle building in which confident consumers buy, confident business owners hire, and confident CEOs invest, the Journal says. Investopia.com
Submitted 2 days ago

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Is the boom back? Drillers to spend $25 billion more in 2017
Oil and gas companies are loosening their purse strings and preparing to pump more oil and gas. Producers expect to spend $25 billion more this year on capital projects than they did last, an increase of 11 percent over 2016, according to the energy research firm Wood Mackenzie. And they hope to pump 1 million more barrels of oil and gas per day. WoodMac analyzed figures from the 119 oil and gas firms that have already announced their capital budgets. Ninety-nine expect to spend more this year. Fuel Fix
Submitted 2 days ago

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What Donald Trump Can Learn About Reviving Manufacturing From A Startup
Randy Altschuler majored in German literature at Princeton, made failed bids for Congress in 2010 and 2012 and started two companies that he sold for a combined total of nearly $300 million. In 2013 he co-founded Xometry, a software platform that connects big customers like MIT Lincoln Laboratory, NASA and the U.S. Army with small, high-skilled manufacturers. Customers upload requests for parts and get an instant price quote, and Xometry finds a manufacturer to produce the job. Based in Gaithersburg, MD, the company, which has raised $23 million in investment capital from individuals and from GE Ventures and Highland Capital Partners, has 80 employees and expects 2017 revenue of more than $20 million. In this interview, which has been edited and condensed, Altschuler, 46, explains why he thinks Xometry has a better chance of boosting manufacturing jobs than the president. Forbes
Submitted 2 days ago

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Mississippi River Maintenance Called Inadequate, Threat to Trade
Barges make their way down the Mississippi River with corn and soybeans, coal, chemicals, steel and other commodities destined for foreign shores. Whether originating along the river’s 2,320-mile stem or entering from arteries like the Ohio and Missouri rivers, the cargo—including 60 percent of all U.S. grain exports—heads for container ships docked in Louisiana. Bna.com
Submitted 2 days ago

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Why The U.S. Needs Automation To Keep Manufacturing Jobs Viable
A promise to bring back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. was the mainstay of President Trump’s campaign in 2016. The delivery of this promise was largely based on a strategy of renegotiating trade agreements with countries like Mexico, China and so on. As a result, President Trump signed an executive order to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and his administration is currently working on amendments to the NAFTA agreement. Simply renegotiating trade agreements may not be enough to revive manufacturing jobs in the country however. Mbtmag.com
Submitted 2 days ago

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Features & Opinion

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

For those who still languish over "losing to China" or believe that the economy is still in recession, wake up and smell the data. Economic development in the South was about as good as it gets in calendar year 2015 according to the data. And as for China, borrowing a quote from the late football coach Bear Bryant that he made in the half-time locker room down 15-0 to Georgia Tech in 1960, "We got 'em right where we want 'em." For those of you who don't know the rich history of Alabama Crimson Tide football, Bama scored all of its 16 points in the fourth quarter, kicking a field goal on the last play of the game to beat Tech 16-15.
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Mike Randle
Today, factories in the U.S. make twice as much product as they did in 1984. And they are doing it with one-third of the manufacturing workforce. In fact, the output of durable goods in 2015 was the highest in the nation's history. So, we do have a strong manufacturing base, at least in the South, much of the Midwest and parts of the West, and it is getting stronger because on a cost-basis, we can compete with any major manufacturing nation in the world.  
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

FEATURE     
The argument for or against a minimum wage hike continues between the reds and the blues, as well as within the economic development community in the South. Should we stay the course with a minimum wage under $8 an hour to better compete with Mexico, the South's biggest competitor for jobs, or set a minimum wage just over $10 an hour, a wage floor most centrists support? That $10 per hour is, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, about right in most states in the South for one adult to be able to cover basic expenses plus all relevant taxes.
 
 Randle Report - Business News in the South
Recent data from the Computing Technology Industry Association (Comp TIA) showed that the technology industry is one of the fastest growing job generators in the South and the nation. The report also indicated that technology job compensation is growing faster than any other sector.
 


 

 

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