Dear Fellow Floridian:
Nearly two years ago, our state was faced with a new challenge, not
natural but manmade. It impacted our beautiful beaches, our seafood, and
it scared our visitors away. There was no guidebook, custom or local
protocol for how to recover from an oil spill, but the communities of
the Gulf Coast weathered this storm head-on with strength, resolve and
We must now enter into a new phase to prepare and protect these communities
from further economic harm. We can do this by diversifying, redefining and
reinventing the economy. This week, when I visited the Panama City Beach Chamber
of Commerce, we spoke about the adversity the Gulf communities have faced and
how the business community has proven it is resilient and ready for a challenge.
There is tremendous opportunity for economic growth and diversity in the Gulf
region. Our elected leaders have helped create an environment that is
business-friendly and have attracted new and innovative companies to our state.
But it is the resolve and hard work of our fellow Floridians who will take these
incentives and make the American dream a reality.
Creating a sustainable economy and jobs are the two most important goals for
the long-term prosperity of our state. Diversifying doesn’t mean abandoning the
industries that have been the economic pulse of our state for decades. It means
branching out, fostering innovation and planning for the success of future
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud & Abuse
On Wednesday, CFO Jeff Atwater joined Gov. Rick Scott and a broad
coalition of Florida consumers, business leaders, law enforcement officials
and concerned citizens to urge the legislature to take immediate action this
session to "Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud and Abuse" in the personal
injury protection (PIP) system.
According to the National Association of Insurance
Commissioners, Florida insurance consumers pay 56 percent more than consumers in
other states for automobile insurance. In addition, the National Insurance Crime
Bureau states that Florida led the nation in questionable insurance claims from
2007 to 2009. Four of the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rate of staged
accidents are in Florida: Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Hialeah.
"Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud and Abuse" video.
An update from Florida’s Bottom Line: Rural Areas Boom
Adding nearly 256,000 people in 2011, Florida has capped a decade of
steady population increase to see the state grow 19 percent since 2000.
Despite 2009, an historic year when more people left than arrived, the
overall net growth of Florida has yielded two additional congressional
seats, moving the state well on its way to becoming the third most
populous state in the nation with 19.1 million people (New York has 19.5
Contrary to predictions, Florida’s rural counties grew the fastest over the
past decade (2001 to 2011.) Osceola County, just south of Orlando, grew by 53
percent; Sumter County, northwest of Orlando, grew by 70 percent, and Flagler
County nearly doubled in population. Tampa, Orlando and Miami have each seen
their healthy share of immigration, but Florida’s rural areas have dramatically
increased their appeal in the past decade, most likely due to the availability
of affordable housing and higher quality of life.
For the most up-to-date economic data for Florida at your fingertips visit: