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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

There are few things more important than holding our government accountable and transparency is paramount to ensuring government accountability. As Thomas Jefferson said more than 200 years ago noting the importance of transparency, “We might hope to see the finances as clear and intelligible as a merchant's books, so that every member of Congress, and every man of every mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently, to control them.” FACTS Banner

It was with that same spirit and commitment that my department developed the Florida Accountability Contract Tracking System (FACTS), a new online tool that offers Floridians greater visibility into how their government is doing business. During the launch of FACTS in June, we shared key details on more than 23,000 state contracts. At that time, I set a goal to incorporate the images of the top five highest-dollar amount contracts from more than 30 state agencies into FACTS. Our mission was to take another important step toward our overarching goal of increasing efficiency and accountability in state contracting and fostering a better system of checks and balances to ensure we are exceptional stewards of your tax dollars.

Thanks to the efforts of many dedicated employees, we reached another milestone this week in Florida’s transparency efforts by successfully posting those top five high-value contracts in FACTS. My pledge to Floridians is to work toward including all contract images in FACTS.

The dedication and responsiveness from state agencies to participate in this critical initiative for Florida’s taxpayers shows the commitment to greater transparency across state government. It is our responsibility to give Floridians every avenue and tool to hold their elected leaders accountable, and with the addition of these images we remain committed to that responsibility.

For more information about FACTS and to see how the money you send to your government is being spent, visit our website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Transparency.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Purple Heart Recipients Honored on Aug. 7Purple Heart Honorees

This week at the Cabinet meeting, CFO Atwater, Gov. Scott, Attorney General Bondi and Commissioner Putnam offered their sincerest gratitude to Florida’s Purple Heart recipients as they honored them and recognized August 7 as Florida Purple Heart Day. The Purple Heart Medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States wounded or killed in combat. CFO Atwater visited wounded veterans and Florida families who have lost loved ones in action. These men and women and their families deserve Florida’s deepest gratitude.

“To all of you who’ve witnessed it close up and built the character to somehow know how to express that honor and duty, we are certainly grateful and in all our limitations maybe that’s all we can express is the greatest gratitude in the world,” said CFO Atwater.

Forum: Brand Your Small Business Wisely

CFO Atwater is partnering with The Jim Moran Institute to host the 2012 Small Business Leadership Forum in Tampa on Sept. 6-7, 2012. The forum will provide access to resources and information to positively impact your small business bottom line. Explore the Forum website to find featured speakers, panel topics and how to connect via social media before the event. 2012 Small Business Leadership Forum, Jim Moran Institute,Harry Costello, Hill+Knowlton Strategies The forum is an opportunity to hear directly from Florida’s small-business community to help Tallahassee improve our state’s business climate.

Brand management is important for small businesses. Word-of-mouth business is vital, and the reputation of the business is critical to success. From communicating the benefits of a new product or service to focusing on key messages, brand management comes into play. Creative approaches to winning customers and capturing markets will be introduced, with a particular focus on branding and reputation management through emerging technologies and social media.

Harry Costello is a specialist in corporate and strategic communications with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, counseling clients on issues ranging from real estate and commercial development, marine and environmental issues to maritime and energy, litigation, financial and investor relations, media, public affairs and crisis communications. As southeast regional manager, Costello coordinates client activity for the firm’s offices in Tampa and Tallahassee and is a member of the firm’s North American Crisis Communications Team and the firm’s U.S. Strategy Council.

Read about the forum, its agenda and registration at www.flsmallbusinessforum.com.

News of Interest

Fort Myers News-Press: Florida sales tax break pays off

Miami Herald: Miami company makes tiny eco-friendly houses big on style

Orlando Business Journal: Priceline opens Orlando call center

Tampa Bay Times: Florida construction industry on verge of a comeback

Miami Herald: Made in South Florida: Local economy gets a boost

USA Today: Boeing, SpaceX to share $1B in NASA funds

Florida KidCare: 'Kids Oughta Be Covered'

Florida is the national leader in reducing the rate of children without health insurance, according to the most recent data from the Center for Children and Families atFlorida KidCare Georgetown University. Florida has decreased the number of uninsured children from 16.7 percent to 12.7 percent over a span of two years. Florida KidCare partners and community leaders celebrated this fact on Thursday andCFO Atwater speaks at the KidCare rally announced a new campaign, “Kids Oughta Be Covered,” and a commitment to get every child covered.

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater credited the work of Florida KidCare partners and praised the Florida Legislature for providing resources for the program to accommodate 100 percent of the projected enrollment.

“Florida saw that there were far too many children in our state without access to care, and Florida developed a solution with KidCare that is working,” said CFO Atwater. “We have made incredible progress, but there is still work to be done. We have a duty to ensure that the next generation of Floridians is healthy and ready to grasp all of the opportunities the future holds.”

Healthy KidsFlorida KidCare has four programs (Medicaid, MediKids, Healthy Kids and Children’s Medical Services Network) that collectively provide affordable health insurance for children from birth through age 18. Currently, more than 2 million children are enrolled in the program. For more information, visit www.floridakidcare.org.

Florida's Bottom LineFlorida's Bottom Line

This quarter, Florida’s Bottom Line focuses on Florida’s small business community and how to provide a stable economic environment so that we can continue to help businesses flourish and expand.

The companion website features business news updates and Florida By the Numbers, a collection of key statistics illustrating important changes in Florida’s economy over the past month. The latest data is shown on topics such as consumer confidence, unemployment rate, new foreclosure activity and Florida's leading, stock and retail index graphs. Updates are made as new stats become available.