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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

During Wednesday’s Strike Force meeting, I joined Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins to announce the results of a study on the fraud rate in Florida’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, historically referred to as the food stamp program), a federal program run according to guidelines mandated by the federal government. When we undertook this task, we knew it would be challenging, as a study of this nature had never been performed in Florida or any other state in the nation.

My Florida C F OThe Strike Force members knew we had to measure the fraud in the program and report the results, and Secretary Wilkins was the first to raise his hand and say, “Start with me.” I appreciate the leadership he has displayed in fighting this fraud head-on.

The study found a 7.5 percent rate of fraud, waste and abuse in Florida’s SNAP program. The study also found an average overpayment of benefits rate of 3.22 percent, which would mean potentially more than $100 million in fiscal year 2010–11 was lost to fraud, waste and abuse.

For the first time, this study shows us the scope of the fraud problem in this federal program. It is the first step in laser-focusing our efforts toward combating the fraud and ensuring that those who legitimately need assistance are receiving it. We have a responsibility to be watchdogs for your tax dollars, and this report clearly shines a light on the challenges ahead. We simply cannot allow such rampant fraud in federal programs that may deny access to those in need and cripple our budget.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

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Sun-Sentinel: Housing market ends year on high note

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CNBC: With More Clarity on Tax Bills, Small Businesses Strive for Growth

Associated Press: BP paying $332 million to more than 34,000 Florida businesses

South Florida Business Journal: Broward College has $1B economic impact

Sun-Sentinel: 58 percent of Florida business owners optimistic

Florida's Bottom Line Is the Inside Track

Florida's Bottom Line New Year's 2013 Edition

The latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line's has the year 2012 in Review, with economic highlights and a look at the year ahead, Gov. Scott on his College and Career FIRST agenda, a discussion of Florida's talent supply chain and more.

A special issue of Florida's Bottom Line features Navigating the Fiscal Cliff—what you should know about it and how it impacts Florida.

The website for Florida's Bottom Line offers the inside track on Florida's financial health, updated as new figures emerge. Useful statistics on Florida's economy and jobs are accompanied by resource links, news and partner sites.

In recent months, several surveys and studies were released that speak to the quality of Florida's business climate and discuss Florida's ranking alongside other states. Here are these resources in case you missed them:

Florida Chamber's Small Business Index Survey results

The National Chamber Foundation released a study on Enterprising States

The non-partisan Tax Foundation recently released a study ranking states' business tax climate, the 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index. This survey ranked Florida fifth best in the nation.