Dear Fellow Floridian:
Few nations in history have fought harder to protect and preserve
their freedom than the United States of America, and every American
citizen is intrinsically tied to a centuries-old passion for
safeguarding that freedom. That very same freedom affords us the right
to cast our vote to elect our national, state and local leaders.
Our right to vote is a constitutional power that rests in the hands of all
American citizens. Sovereignty lies with the people in our country; we have the
power to choose the course of our state and nation. The magnitude of this
responsibility transcends any other decision we might make. For our president,
our congresswomen and men and our state legislators who manage the finances of
government—they have the power to raise or lower our debt or our taxes, to
promote transparency and to advance policies that chart the course for our
state and nation.
The right to vote is one we should not take for granted.
As you go to the polls, remember you are carrying on the tradition of many
great Americans who have come before you. On Election Day, you are the
embodiment of their dreams. You are the posterity for which they pledged their
lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. I cherish that sacrifice and my
freedom. Join me on Tuesday to exercise your right to vote.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
A Tax Guide for Small Business Owners
Negotiating the tax system can be as difficult as traversing a
labyrinth, but the Department of Financial Services is working to
educate and help small business owners expand their financial ventures.
The Small Business Tax Saving Strategies for the 2012 and 2013 Tax Years
webinar provided a venue of learning and guidance to Florida's
The former president of the Central Florida chapter of the Florida
Institute of CPAs, T. Shepard Burr, presented tax incentive
opportunities for small business owners in 2012 and 2013. Topics during
the webinars included tips on reducing taxes, lowering expenses, timing
for needed capital improvements, potential impacts of the health care
changes and expiration of tax cuts. Drawing on his expertise as a CPA
for 40 years, Burr educated small business owners about the
necessity of year-round tax management, deducting business expenses and
If you missed it live, the webinar is available on the
Your Money Matter$ Small Business Page.
Unclaimed Property Phone Bank Event
During an Unclaimed Property phone bank held in conjunction with ABC 25 in West
Palm Beach Thursday, CFO Atwater’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property was able to
return more than $199,319 to 797 Florida consumers. Eight representatives from
the bureau were on hand to take calls. In the 12 hours after the phone bank, the
Unclaimed Property website had 6,949 visits to the website.
The bureau is proactive and diligent in its efforts to reconnect Floridians
with their lost or forgotten property. Since CFO Atwater took office, records
have been broken by putting more than $375 million back in the hands of
Floridians. But there is currently an estimated $1 billion in unclaimed property
accounts waiting for the rightful owners. Search
or call 1-88-VALUABLE to see if you have an unclaimed property account. And
remember, there is no charge to claim your unclaimed property from the state,
nor is there a statute of limitations; citizens have the right to claim their
property at any time.
Hurricane Sandy Leaves a Trail of Disaster
Now that Sandy has traveled on, the northeastern U.S. is attempting
to recover from what is sure to be one of the worst disasters on record.
Lessons will be learned the hard way, and fortunately we have an
opportunity this time to learn them from a distance. Here are a few
important insurance tips we Floridians should note:
- Hurricane season continues through November. Review your
insurance policy for important details, such as property
and content values that may have changed over the years.
- Make sure you know the amount of your hurricane deductible, so you
can be prepared if you face property damage from a storm.
- Remember that flood insurance is a separate policy from your
homeowners policy. Your homeowners policy
not cover flood. It's important to insure your home and its contents for
floodwater damage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Depending on your property location, your home is either considered at
high-risk or at moderate-to-low risk for a flood. Your insurance premium
will vary accordingly.
- Renters should have coverage, too. Renters insurance is reasonably priced
and covers the contents of your dwelling for theft, fire or other perils,
including liability. Renters also need flood insurance, too. As a tenant, it is
wise to insure your personal contents through the NFIP. The policy premium is
based on several factors, including the flood risk of the building that you
Atwater’s Disaster Preparedness webpage has many tips and details on how to
prepare for a potential disaster, and insurance specialists are available Monday
through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the CFO’s Consumer Helpline at
1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236) to assist with questions you may have about
Florida Students $ave Essay
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.
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).
Florida's Bottom Line
quarter’s issue of Florida’s Bottom Line 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
Florida’s Bottom Line also provides the most up-to-date financial
and economic statistics for Florida, serving as a roadmap for your