I have been meeting across the state with small business leaders to discuss topics of mutual concern in Sarasota, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Palm Beach, Naples and Fort Myers.
Small business plays a vital role in keeping Florida's economy moving forward.
According to the US Small Business Administration, the estimated total number of small businesses in Florida in 2003 was 1,540,500. Small businesses employ 2.9 million people or 45 percent of the state's private workforce. Their economic contribution to the state is estimated at over $33 billion.
I am committed to working with small businesses throughout the state to ensure we are doing everything we can to continue moving forward.
This means we need a world-class education system to provide the workers we need for our growing economy. We need a fair tax structure and regulatory environment so that our businesses aren't burdened needlessly. We need to eliminate the substitute communications tax so that businesses aren't threatened with that liability.
It is also time to eliminate the intangibles tax, something Governor Bush and I am committed to doing. Reform of our legal system will ensure fair access to courts is not a license for abuse of the judicial system.
We have to expand the availability of affordable health care for employees to make sure that health care stays available to working Floridians.
Finally, this past year showed the importance of providing hurricane relief throughout the state. With hurricane season fast approaching, I can’t stress enough the importance of preparation.
Gadsden, Florida's fifth county, was formed in 1823. It once ran from Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Suwannee River to the Apalachicola River. Quincy, the county seat, was incorporated in 1828. The courthouse, above, was built in 1912.
CFO Gallagher welcomes Carlos Muniz as general counsel.
GALLAGHER NAMES NEW GENERAL COUNSEL
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced today that Carlos Muniz, former deputy general counsel to Governor Jeb Bush, has been tapped to serve as general counsel of the Department of Financial Services.
Muniz, who has several years of corporate law and civil and administrative litigation experience, replaces Pete Dunbar, who recently returned to his private law practice at Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell and Dunbar, P.A. Muniz will start April 12.
“The citizens of Florida and the employees of this department will be well served by Carlos Muniz’s experience and intellect,” Gallagher said. “I am looking forward to having him on the team.”
GALLAGHER RELEASES LIST OF TOP TEN THREATS TO FLORIDA’S INVESTORS
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher released a list of Florida’s top ten scams used to cheat investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Gallagher said that while his department is always on the lookout for crooks peddling bogus investments, the best defense against these characters often is a vigilant citizenry.
“The calls we get from Floridians to check out an investment or the person selling it often lead us to unregistered investments and unlicensed salesman and brokers,” said Gallagher. “When the public calls us to verify a deal, they not only protect themselves, they might also protect others by tipping off our investigators.”
FIREFIGHTERS LICENSE PLATE HOTTEST SELLER IN 2004
The Florida Salutes Firefighters specialty license plate was the hottest selling new plate in 2004. In a celebration in the Capitol Courtyard, it was announced that its 10,000th license plate was sold and its $200,000 in proceeds will benefit charities throughout the state. The tag, depicting a firefighter with a patriotic background, was sponsored by the Florida Professional Firefighters.
The plate, which went on sale throughout Florida last June, was ranked 38th out of a field of 91 specialty plates in 2004, according to the Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles.
GOVERNOR BUSH, GALLAGHER AND CABINET HONOR FLORIDA’S OUTSTANDING FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE PERSONNEL
Ten fire and rescue workers from throughout Florida were recognized for their work in 2004, including one firefighter who on-duty pulled a victim from a burning building and off-duty saved a life by applying the Heimlich maneuver to a patron in a restaurant.
JUPITER TOWN HALL MEETING HELPS OUT CONSUMERS WITH INSURANCE CLAIM PROBLEMS
An estimated 300 North Palm Beach County residents came out this week to tell Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher their problems and meet with consumer specialists to help solve the lingering problems created by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.
UNLICENSED POMPANO BEACH PSYCHOTHERAPIST ARRESTED AGAIN
State insurance fraud investigators arrested an unlicensed psychotherapist a second time for practicing psychotherapy without a license and fraudulently billing insurance companies. Lubomir Lacho, 53, of 2832 N.E. 32nd St., was arrested this morning at New Hope Counseling Center, located at 3500 N.E. Fifth Ave. It appeared he had a full schedule of patients for the day.
KEEP ACCOUNT INFORMATION SAFE
Don't take e-mail scammers' bait
Do you like to fish? So do the crooks. Only thing is, they are not fishing for bass, they are fishing for money.
"Phishing" is the hottest Internet scam to come along. It is a simple scam and most deceiving in the manner in which it is perpetrated. ID thieves copy and paste the logos of your bank or credit card company into phony e-mails and send them to you over the Internet. The e-mail says they need to verify your account information or that your account has been compromised. If you click on the link posted in the e-mail you are immediately directed to a form you must complete. Fill out the form and presto, your ID and money will be stolen.
The crooks are hoping you will provide the information without investigating the source of the e-mail. Unfortunately, they are usually right. People tend to provide the information only to realize after hitting the enter key that perhaps they acted too hastily. The fact is, banks and credit card companies do not contact customers via e-mail, phone or mail to request or verify security information about passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs)."
STATE FIRE MARSHAL K-9 OFFICER RETIRING TO LIFE AS SOUTH WALTON FIRE DISTRICT STATION MASCOT
She isn’t doggone tired yet, but Savannah is retiring after serving eight years as the State Fire Marshal’s Office K-9 accelerant detective for the Northwest Florida region.
She will live in the lap of luxury – at least as she sees it. The yellow Labrador Retriever will become the mascot for South Walton Fire District Station #2. She will go to work daily with Chief Les Hallman and hang out around the fire house to greet visitors.