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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridian:

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the foremost Everglades advocate of our time, in her book "The Everglades: River of Grass," wrote, “There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them.”

It was an honor to be invited to kick off the Everglades Foundation's Everglades Water Supply Summit on Tuesday. This summit brought together many people from different parts of the state and country to discuss a topic that we all can unite around: the restoration of the Everglades.Everglades Summit

As Floridians, we have the honor of claiming the Everglades as our own, but claiming this magnificent natural resource comes with great responsibility. Together, we must ensure that our Everglades are restored and preserved for future generations and long-term prosperity.

The health of our economy is dependent on the health of our environment, and we must not repeat the short-sighted mistakes of the past or exploit our most valuable natural resources for near-term gains. Just last year, Florida welcomed more than 80 million visitors to the state, which is equal to the combined populations of California, Texas and New York. Florida’s environment−in particular the Everglades−plays an integral part in keeping Florida a top vacation spot.

We are indebted to those who fought for and safeguarded our state treasures so that Floridians and visitors alike can enjoy them today. We are obligated to continue those same efforts so that we leave our state a better place for our children and future generations of Floridians. We must rededicate ourselves to the deep commitment of saving and restoring the Everglades. The future of the Florida we know and love today is dependent upon its success.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Week in Review

This week, as the 2012 legislative session got into full swing, I had the privilege of speaking with many groups preparing to advocate for their causes.

On Monday I spoke with financial planners from around the state at the 22nd annual Financial Planning Symposium in Lake Mary. Financial planners play an important role in the lives of Florida’s families and in the broader economy of our state. Whether in buying a home, sending a child to college or planning for retirement, they are our trusted advisors. Financial success for families means greater long-term financial success for Florida as a whole.

Florida Sheriff's AssociationAs financial planners protect a family’s investments, Florida sheriffs work to ensure our state is crime-free. At the Florida Sheriff’s Association Mid-Winter Conference on Tuesday, I was able to thank sheriffs from all over the state for their selfless dedication to cracking down on crime, including working with my office to put the brakes on auto insurance and workers’ compensation fraud. I appreciate their commitment to our citizens, and I am proud of the many cases we have successfully worked on together.

At the Florida Retail Federation’s Retail Days at the Capitol on Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak with businessmen and women who are following the American dream by been creating jobs, employing their fellow Floridians and navigating the rough economic waters during these challenging times. I am proud of the work they do for our state.

On Friday, I met with fire servicemen and women while speaking to the Fire-Rescue EAST Conference and Tradeshow. This event attracts the best in the fire-service industry who display the latest technologies. I was encouraged to see the innovative equipment available to protect our brave firefighters who serve our fellow Floridians.

News of Interest

The Florida Current: Everglades Foundation boosts Tallahassee presence with water summit, local office

Florida Times-Union: Working on the First Coast: Not your typical bird food business

Miami Herald: Quilt company finds a new business pattern

Orlando Business Journal: Chase's 2011 small biz lending up 62% in Florida

Associated Press: Unemployment claims at 352,000, fewest since 2008

Florida Trend Florida Science Newsmaker in 2011

Chicago Tribune: Tropicana goes back to using only Florida oranges

Resolution Recognizes Florida Thrift Week

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has sponsored a resolution recognizing Jan. 17 - 23, 2012, as “Florida Thrift Week,” encouraging all Floridians to learn and implement the values of thrift and saving as steps toward long-term financial success.

“We must set aside the myth that thrift is defined by a tight-fisted existence. The root of the word is ‘to thrive,’ which is what results from disciplined financial planning,” said CFO Atwater. “Thrift and saving was once a vibrant American tradition, and getting back to this practice is the antidote to the high levels of debt and the economic uncertainty facing our nation.”

The thrift educational movement began in 1916 as the nation faced the reality of World War I. American civic leaders wanted to arm its citizens for a wartime economy. “National Thrift Week” was introduced and became an annual celebration that began each year on January 17th in honor of the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, America’s foremost thrift advocate. This celebration week dropped off in the 1960s, but the John Templeton Foundation recently launched a national campaign for the celebration to return.

The James Madison Institute (JMI), a Florida-based research and educational organization with the mission of keeping Floridians informed about their government, is celebrating National Thrift Week with the focus on teaching our youth about the value of thrift. JMI and newspapers throughout the state have partnered to distribute a supplemental curriculum, "All About the Benjamins: Understanding the Value of Thrift," to high school students. This practical publication Your Money Matter$shares success stories of people who have faithfully practiced simple acts of thrift and as a result are living their dreams.

The resolution, signed by Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet, along with additional information regarding thrift and savings can be found at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/YMM.

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