Florida Five: Gov. Scott gives advice to feds, State budget surplus nears $1 billion

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Gov Rick Scott CNBCGov. Scott’s advice to feds: ‘Do the same thing we’re doing in Florida’ – Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the country for jobs, and Gov. Rick Scott told CNBC Monday how it has been accomplished. The federal government could take note, Scott said, pointing to lower taxes, less regulation and streamlined permit approvals, causing the Sunshine State’s business environment to thrive. GOP leadership also had something to do with it, according to Scott. Read more

State budget surplus nears $1 billion; Scott calling for tax cuts, school spending hike – The surplus for next year’s state budget is nearing $1 billion, giving lawmakers more room to bankroll their priorities as well as Gov. Rick Scott’s call for additional tax cuts and record per-student school funding. At a meeting Monday, state economists added $622 million to the total available for Scott to use when he proposes his spending plan for the coming budget year, which begins July 1. That would be in addition to the approximately $336 million surplus that had been projected earlier. The new numbers come with some caveats. Since the earlier projections, there are increased spending needs in some areas of the budget, though projected spending in other areas has been reduced. Read more

‘Sunshine State spike’ featured in Fox News jobs report – Florida Gov. Rick Scott has made creating jobs a priority, and it’s starting to pay off. In a “Fox and Friends” segment on Monday, Travis H. Brown, author of “How Money Works,” praised the Sunshine State for being a place most likely to find a job. Read more

Florida asks Supreme Court to block gay marriage – Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi asked the U.S. Supreme Court late on Monday to block same-sex marriage in the state next month while the state continues its legal defense of its constitutional definition of marriage as a heterosexual union. A ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle in north Florida in August threw out the state ban, but stayed the effect of his order. A ruling by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeal in Atlanta on Dec. 3 opened the possibility of statewide marriages to start Jan. 6. Read more

Chinese investors eye Miami’s booming real estate market – Chinese investors are far behind the Latin American and European investors who dominate the South Florida real estate market, but brokers are getting ready for that to change. The combination of Miami rising to seventh place on the list of the most important global cities to the world’s wealthy, a pricy and overbuilt Chinese domestic market, and a slowing national economy have driven Chinese buyers to look overseas. As of December, there were 302 pre-construction projects in southern Florida, including 28,000 new — and quickly selling — units in Miami. Read more

Jeb 2016 watch: Three reasons why Republicans don’t want Jeb Bush in 2016 (+video)

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