A Line in the Sand

As the legislative battle over oil drilling heats up, Dave Rauschkolb has called on fellow opponents to form a line in the sand —literally — to stop it.

A Line in the Sand

As the legislative battle over oil drilling heats up, Dave Rauschkolb has called on fellow opponents to form a line in the sand — literally — to stop it.

The owner of Bud and Alley’s in Seaside is asking Floridians to hit the beaches on Saturday, Feb. 13, as a signal to state lawmakers they should reject the idea of offshore oil rigs. He has set up a Web site for the event, handsacrossthesand.com.

"I went back on my heels when I heard about it," Rauschkolb said, echoing concerns being voiced by other tourist-dependent businesses along the Northwest Florida coast. "People have a visceral feeling in their gut when they hear about this. I just wanted to encourage all Floridians of all political persuasions and from all walks of life, if you don’t think this is the right policy for Florida, join us and draw lines in the sand."

Florida Energy Associates, a coalition of independent oil producers, says the money drawn from leases would help replace billions in federal stimulus dollars that have helped balance Florida’s budget but will be gone in a year. The group has enlisted nearly three dozen lobbyists.

"There is a vocal minority out there opposed to oil exploration in the Gulf," said Barney Bishop, president of Associated Industries of Florida, the influential business organization helping to spearhead support for drilling. "The opposition is certainly entitled to be heard. But they’re not entitled to overrule the majority."

(The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

Spender or Saver?

Workers who like to spend rather than save their money are having tougher workdays during these recessionary times, according to a recent survey of 1,500 full-time employees conducted by the Florida State University College of Business.

Compared to their financially conservative co-workers, the savers, the less thrifty employees: experienced less enjoyment in their work; were less interested in trying to improve the company; had difficulty concentrating on tasks; more frequently reported that work was "nerve-wracking"; and felt more downhearted and irritable at work.

"At some point, all of us have been told the importance of saving money for a rainy day," said Wayne Hochwater, FSU’s Jim Moran Professor of Management, who conducted the study with researcher (and FSU Quarterback) Christian Ponder. "Unquestionably, companies will benefit by helping employees recognize the value of thriftiness and teaching tangible financial management skills … (and) doing so may contribute to higher levels of performance."

We’re #5

Florida has the fifth most "business friendly" tax system in the country, according to the Washington-based Tax Foundation’s 2010 State Business Tax Climate Index. The Sunshine State places behind South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and Nevada — all of which, like Florida, do not have a state personal income tax. The most "unfriendly" state? New Jersey.


Demographics of Northwest Florida

Population: 1.3 million

Labor Force: 657,511

Unemployment Rate: 8.7 percent

Median Age: 38

Per Capita Income: $26,190

Median Household Income: $45,360

Source: Florida’s Great Northwest (September 2009)

Did you know?

Small Businesses account for nearly 60 percent of new jobs created in Florida represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms in the United States

Federal Stimulus Update:

$15.7 billion = 47,069 Florida jobs

Overseas Marketing

Enterprise Florida is providing space at the Dubai International Boat Show for Florida businesses that want to display their marine products and services. First come, first served. But applications will probably be accepted through the end of December. The show will be held March 9–13.

The classic showcase of boats drew 25,000 visitors from 100 countries last year. Florida companies who have participated are already starting to see a return on their investment — with $12 million in product sales.

Companies interested in participating should contact Julie Balzano, director for Marine Industry Sector, Enterprise Florida, at jbalzano@eflorida.com or (305) 808-3660.