Issues of Interest

ELECTIONS CYBERSECURITY The Florida Department of State will draw down over $19 million of federal money for cybersecurity for the upcoming elections. The Legislature must approve the distribution of the funding to the state’s 67 Supervisors of Elections and the hiring of five new specialists. The funding requires a 5 percent match by the state over the next two years. Florida is seen by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a likely target of cyber attacks.

FLORIDA’S ECONOMY According to the Florida Chamber Foundation, the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) topped $1 trillion this year. If Florida was a country, it would be the 17th largest economy in the world and larger than nations such as Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Argentina. Last month Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Florida’s General Obligation bond rating to AAA, the highest rating possible, for the first time in the state’s history.

DISASTER WEBSITE The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity launched a website,, to help Florida businesses prepare for and recover from hurricanes and other natural disasters. The new website includes: a disaster planning toolkit to help businesses prepare for hurricanes and other disasters; critical disaster updates from the State Emergency Operations Center to keep businesses informed; and a business damage assessment survey to help businesses get back up and running.

JOBS FUNDING The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund was created by the Legislature to fund regional workforce development and job training projects. The $85 million fund is handled by the Department of Economic Opportunity, which received 246 applications seeking a total of $866 million in assistance in 2017-18. A complete list of grants awarded can be found here.

GAS PRICES According to AAA, gas prices in Florida are the highest in four years. The statewide average of $2.76 for a gallon of regular gas is up nearly 50 cents from a year ago and is 20 cents below Memorial Day weekend’s peak.

FLORIDA VISITORS Over 33 million tourists visited Florida during the first quarter of 2018, representing a 7 percent increase over last year’s figures and setting a new record. The numbers were bolstered by an 8.5 percent increase in domestic visitors.