The Sunshine Economy

9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Mondays

The Sunshine Economy, takes a fresh look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse. From investments in health care, storm preparedness, international trade, real estate and technology based start-ups, tune in to learn more about one of the worlds most vibrant and diverse economies.

Tom Hudson
Credit WLRN

Ways to Connect

Miami Book Fair International

Miami-Dade County Public Libraries have a big financial hole to fill. In order to stave off closing branches and laying off dozens of employees, the Miami-Dade County Commission this year raided the library's reserve fund. That will leave an estimated $20 million deficit in the next fiscal year. In order to generate ideas for the library of the future, library director Raymond Santiago has gathered together a task force with "everything on the table." That means the possibility of higher taxes to support public libraries.

Christie's

  

Sale 2791. Lot 8A. "Three Studies of Lucien Freud." $142.4 million.

On the evening of Nov. 12 at Rockefeller Center in New York City, the 1969 oil painting on canvas by Francis Bacon set a record price for publicly auctioned art. Its auction price may bode well for those hoping the upcoming Art Basel Miami Beach will lead to big business. But even if there are no nine-figure sale prices, a rebounding housing market and rallying stock market are expected to lift the spirits, and possibly prices, of the business around Basel.

Chloe Herring / WLRN

Only a few months ago, several public libraries in Miami-Dade County were targeted for closure. They were spared thanks to some last-minute financial rearranging of the county's annual budget. But the threat and budgetary maneuver sparked outrage first and now study of the role of public libraries in our modern-information society.

Wednesday is the second annual Give Miami Day. It's an effort by The Miami Foundation to focus charitable giving for local organizations. Miami and South Florida have a history of giving, though our relatively young metropolis may lack the generational giving enjoyed by older, more established areas.

Sanford Ziff, Jorge Perez and the Knight Foundation's Alberto Ibarguen are three who are working to change that.

Underwater Real Estate

Nov 14, 2013

  

The dream of South Florida real estate is beachside.  The marquee properties along our beaches attract global attention and eye-popping prices.  But as studies from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration have found, sea levels in South Florida have risen about nine inches in the past century.  Today's beachside may be the next century's underwater property.

Tom Hudson

In the movie Field of Dreams, an Iowan farmer builds a baseball diamond in a cornfield and the ghosts of the disgraced 1919 Chicago White Sox materialize from the stalks.

On a 1.6-acre plot of land in Dania Beach, there's nothing so supernatural taking place. Instead, the community, along with a public-private partnership, have joined together to build an urban garden. They grow vegetables and sell them to neighbors who otherwise have a difficult time finding fresh food near their homes.

Tom Hudson

Would you pay $12 for this jar of pluot jelly?

It's a combination of apricots and plums. Plenty of people are shelling out the $12 for the 10-ounce jar at independent grocery store Joanna's Marketplace on South Dixie Highway in Miami.

This jelly is just one way the small store looks to compete in an increasingly crowded grocery store industry in South Florida.

Karen Rundlet

The store you probably spend the most time in isn’t a boutique or a department store. I’ll bet, over the course of a year, it’s the supermarket. 

On average, supermarket customers shop for groceries twice a week and spend about $100. In South Florida, Publix is the marketshare leader – dominating with close to 250 stores. Winn Dixie is second. And then, we have Walmart and Sedano’s.

While each chain is distinct in terms of pricing and store environment, there are commonalities in how many of them are designed, said Paco Underhill, a consultant and author who studies the science of how people shop all over the world.

FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The years 2009 and 2010 were dark days for Miami real estate. Home prices plummeted. Mortgages imploded. Foreclosures soared.

And buyers flooded in from Brazil.

Since that time, Brazilians have become the top foreign buyers of homes and especially condominiums in South Florida. As recently as June, the largest number of foreign-based online visitors to the Miami Association of Realtors website came from Brazil. In 2011 and 2012, most international buyers of residential real estate in the Miami area came from Brazil.

This week was supposed to bring together the leaders of the largest and sixth-largest economies in the world. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff had been scheduled to make an official state visit to the White House but she called off the trip after it was revealed that the U.S. National Security Administration intercepted emails and telephone calls between herself, her staff and the Brazilian state energy company Petrobras.

U.S. Federal Reserve / Truth In Accounting

The debate in Congress over raising the debt ceiling was focused on the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. That's a huge number that has been increasing rapidly since the Great Recession. The chart above from the U.S. Federal Reserve shows the federally reported public debt jumping from $6 trillion after the 2001 recession to almost $17 trillion this fall.  

Public Debt On TSE: Lining Up Lenders for Landing

Oct 16, 2013
Tom Hudson

The federal government may be partially shut down and flirting with an unprecedented debt default but the Broward County Aviation Department had no trouble borrowing $450 million this month.

Tom Hudson

The picture above shows the beginning of a second runway at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that, once completed, is expected to cost $2.3 billion. The runway is just part of a multi-billion dollar expansion project already underway.

More than half of the project is being paid for with borrowed money. The Broward County Aviation Department will eventually assume $1.5 billion in public debt. Last week, it successfully sold $450 million worth of public bonds to continue the construction project.

Animals and transportation. Those are two areas Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry says residents would like to expand county services. And while the county has seen its finances improve as the housing market has recovered somewhat, the county is not looking to expand its workforce.

Tom Hudson

Paul Krugman is a lightning rod for economic criticism. He's used to it. For several years Krugman has argued in his New York Times columns for more government stimulus spending, not less.

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