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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

The nearly 2.2 million small businesses in Florida make up 98.9 percent of our state’s employers and contribute about 75 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. With small businesses being the predominantFlorida's Bottom Line force of our state’s economy, maintaining a business environment conducive to small business development is essential for promoting economic prosperity in Florida.

As I spend time with entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout our state, one of the recurring challenges I hear about is the lack of access to capital. According to a recent survey of small businesses trying to obtain financing during the third quarter of this year, 72 percent were not able to get the loans they wanted.

This quarter’s issue of Florida’s Bottom Line explains why that number may increase over the next three years. The issue focuses on how federal regulations are causing community banks and credit unions to divert resources away from lending to small businesses, causing them to spend increased amounts of time and money attempting to comply with new federal rules. We also provide you with the most up-to-date financial and economic statistics for Florida, serving as a roadmap for your financial future. I hope you find this edition interesting and informative. As always, I welcome your feedback on how we can make this publication better for you.

Visit Florida's Bottom Line website at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/floridasbottomline/.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Tax Facts for Small Business Owners

Running a small business is a daunting proposition. Supporting Florida’s small business community by connecting them with available resources is critical to our state’s economic recovery. To help small businesses minimize their potential tax burden, the department is partnering with the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA) to host three free webinars titled “Tax Facts: A Guide for Small Business Owners” in October. The webinars follow on the heels of the Small Business Leadership Forum recently held in Tampa, with the focus on what can be done to improve the small business ecosystem in the state.

The webinars will provide an overview of key tax law provisions that affect small businesses and outline opportunities for reducing taxes, lowering expenses, making needed capital improvements. They will also cover potential impacts of health insurance changes and the expiration of tax cuts. Dates and times covering these topics on three separate occasions are as follows:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 18 at noon
  • Tuesday, Oct 23 at 5:30 p.m.

Read the attached flier for more information.

News of Interest

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Florida economic officials take on ‘2020’ job projections

South Florida Business Journal: Florida No. 5 best state for business tax climate

Washington Post: Global engines of growth slow as emerging economies cool

Washington Post: Wal-Mart head-to-head with banks on prepaid American Express card

Miami Herald: Small biz owners optimistic about future

Florida Today: SpaceX's Dragon capsule expected early today at ISS

Florida Students $ave Essay Contest

With almost half of graduating high school seniors saying they’re unsure or unprepared to manage their own personal finances, and with the average 23- to 28-year-old carrying more than $14,000 in debt, it’s clear that there is a need to prepare our teens for the opportunities and challenges that their futures hold.Florida Students $ave Essay Contest

Working with Florida Master Money Mentors, The James Madison Institute and the Florida Council on Economic Education, we have developed the Florida Students $ave Essay Contest. The contest is part of the Your Money Matters education initiative, which aims to equip Floridians with financial knowledge in an easy and accessible way.

The goal of the contest is to motivate young people to develop personal financial skills and better prepare them for college and the workplace. The contest will award hundreds of dollars to Florida students who present the best research and planning in response to scenarios that reflect on short- and long-term financial goals.

The contest is open to all Florida high school students (public, private, charter, virtual or homeschool) for the 2012-13 school year. From now through Nov. 30, students can submit essays of up to 1,200 words for a chance to win a first-place prize of $250. Second- and third-place winners will receive $150 and $50 respectively. Three winners will be chosen from each of five regions across Florida: Northwest Florida, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and South Florida.

For more information about the essay contest, including a list of contest rules, regions and how to submit an essay, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/YMM or call the Division of Consumer Services helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236).