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Florida is a state in the southeast of United States. Florida has an estimated population of 17,789,864.The gross state product of Florida in 2005 was $596 billion. Its GDP is one of the fastest-growing in the nation, with a 7.7% increase from 2004 to 2005. Personal income was $30,098 per capita, ranking 26th in the nation.
Tourism makes up the largest sector of the state economy. Warm weather and hundreds of miles of beaches attract about 60 million visitors to the state every year. Amusement parks, especially in the Orlando area, make up a significant portion of tourism; the huge Walt Disney World Resort consists of four theme parks and more than 20 hotels in Lake Buena Vista, and together with Universal Orlando Resort, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, and other major parks drives state tourism. The Florida Keys and Daytona Beach (famous as a spring break site) are also tourism centers.
The second largest industry is agriculture. Citrus fruit, especially oranges, are a major part of the economy, and Florida produces by far the majority of citrus fruit grown in the U.S. in 2006 67 percent of all citrus, 74 percent of oranges, 54 percent of grapefruit, and 58 percent of tangerines. About 95 percent of commercial orange production in the state is destined for processing (mostly as orange juice, the official state beverage). Citrus canker continues to be an issue of concern. Sugarcane also continues to be a major agricultural crop. Other products include celery. The Everglades Agricultural Area is a major center for agriculture. The environmental impact of agriculture especially water pollution is a major issue in Florida today.
Phosphate mining, concentrated in the Bone Valley, is the state's third-largest industry. The state produces about 75 percent of the phosphate required by farmers in the United States and 25 percent of the world supply, with about 95 percent used for agriculture (90 percent for fertilizer and 5 percent for livestock feed supplements) and 5 percent used for other products.
Since the arrival of the NASA Merritt Island launch sites on Cape Canaveral (most notably Kennedy Space Center) in 1962, Florida has developed a sizeable aerospace industry.
The state was one of the few states to not have a state minimum wage law until 2004, when voters passed a constitutional amendment establishing a state minimum wage and (unique among minimum wage laws) mandating that it be adjusted for inflation every six months. Currently, the minimum wage in the state of Florida is $6.67.
The beach at Bahia Honda in the Florida KeysHistorically, Florida's economy was based upon cattle farming and agriculture (especially sugarcane, citrus, tomatoes, and strawberries). In the early 1900, land speculators discovered Florida, and businessmen such as Henry Plant and Henry Flagler developed railroad systems, which led people to move in, drawn by the weather and local economies. From then on, tourism boomed, fueling a cycle of development that overwhelmed a great deal of farmland.
In 2004 and 2005, key industries along the west coast?commercial fishing and water-based tourist activities (sports fishing and diving) were threatened by outbreaks of red tide, a discoloration of seawater caused by an efflorescence of toxin-producing dinoflagellates.
Florida is one of the nine states that do not impose a personal income tax. The state sales tax rate is 6%. Local governments may levy an additional local option sales tax of up to 1.5%. A locale's use-tax rate is the same as its sales-tax rate, including local options, if any. Use taxes are payable for purchases made out of state and brought into Florida within six months of the purchase date. Other taxes are mostly levied on businesses. They include the following taxes: corporate income, communication services, intangibles, unemployment, solid waste, documentary stamps, insurance premium, pollutants, and various fuel taxes.
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