Volume 4 Number 12
March 23, 2007
Commissioner of Agriculture
Charles Bronson and I would like to extend an invitation to you to attend
the first of a series of workshops on “Conversations on Climate Change.”
This workshop will be held on Tuesday, April 3, 2007, at 11:00 a.m.
after the Florida Cabinet meeting.
This workshop will feature
national experts in areas such as the science of rising sea levels,
renewable energy sources, the impact of climate change on the insurance and
financial industries, and more. The sessions will also give elected
officials, business leaders and Floridians the opportunity to understand how
these challenges and potential solutions present opportunities for the
growth of new industries in our state.
We hope you can join us, as we
begin this important dialogue to make more informed decisions about
Guest speakers for the April 3rd
conversation will include:
Governor Charlie Crist, Senator
Burt Saunders, Dr. Meg Lowman, Dr. Stephen Mulkey, Dr. Stephen Leatherman,
Karry Emmanuel, Tim Wagner, Dan Reicher and Keith Allan.
& Casualty ordered into liquidation
Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry P. Lewis has ordered
Maitland-based Vanguard Fire & Casualty Company into liquidation, effective
Monday, to ensure policyholder claims continue to be paid. The Department
of Financial Services was named receiver in January for purposes of
rehabilitation and has paid more than $6 million in claims using company
assets, but has determined the company’s cash and reserves are not enough to
keep up with claims.
department has a request pending in the same court asking for permission to
allow the company’s approximately 57,000 homeowner policyholders to be
offered replacement coverage by either Royal Palm Insurance Company (Royal
Palm) or Security First Insurance Company (Security First). If the court
approves, replacement coverage will be effective April 25, 2007, or upon
expiration of the policyholder’s Vanguard coverage, whichever occurs first.
Policyholders also will be free to choose other companies for coverage.
“Getting the company into the
liquidation process will allow us to immediately begin paying claims from
the state’s Florida Insurance Guaranty Association,” said Florida Chief
Financial Officer Alex Sink, who as CFO oversees the department. “Our top
priority is to take care of policyholders and ensure their claims are paid.” CONTINUED
ALEX SINK HONORED FOR LEADERSHIP IN JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT CAPITAL CAMPAIGN
As chair of the 2003-2005 Junior
Achievement Capital Campaign, Alex Sink gave support and leadership to
help this Tampa Bay program succeed. This week, Richard George, of
Junior Achievement's Enterprise Village, presented CFO Sink with a
framed commemorative key to the village.
The Bill Poe Family Junior Achievement Center in Tampa
houses a world-class learning facility where fifth grade students
explore the world of business in a mini-city consisting of 20 public and
private enterprises. JA Enterprise Village has an annual capacity of
14,000 students and the 15,000 square foot center features a
state-of-the-art training facility for educators and volunteers. Through
Junior Achievement’s partner, the School District of Hillsborough
County, the center has been built on school board property located in
the 13000 block of North 22nd Street in Tampa.
The mayor at the Junior Achievement Enterprise village
declared the thirtieth day of November as Alex Sink Day. This center was
built as a result of Ms. Sink's tireless dedication and passion. Because
of her hard work, students will be able to participate in this wonderful
program for years to come.
Tampa Bay elementary students now have the opportunity to
experience a day like no other; a day that is referred to by students as
"the very best day ever!"
INSPECTOR TRAINING CLASSES NOW
AVAILABLE FOR MY SAFE FLORIDA HOME
are currently being offered for
those interested in becoming home
inspectors for the My Safe Florida
creating this program requires the
Department of Financial Services to
work with Wind Certification
Entities (WCEs) that provide a
workforce of inspectors who have
successfully undergone the required
criminal background check protocol,
drug screening and completed
specialized training and testing in
hurricane mitigation survey and
residential retrofitting procedures.
In the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Services class,
My Safe Florida Home procedures will be covered and participants who wish to
take part in the state qualified "Wind & Hurricane Mitigation Inspectors"
program can voluntarily take the certification exam following the class.
The first part of the presentation is intended to provide background
information on wind characteristics, wind and building/structural
interaction and common terms associated with structural design for wind
IRS WEB SITE,
WHERE'S MY REFUND, SEES INCREASED USE
The Internal Revenue Service released statistics today
showing that taxpayers’ use of IRS.gov, which includes features such as
Where’s My Refund is increasing. Use of the IRS website has increased 9
percent over this time last year to 83.3 million visits.
Where’s My Refund is the IRS
Internet-based service taxpayers can use to check on the status of their
federal income tax refunds. Nearly 21 million requests have been received
on Where’s My Refund this year, representing a growth of more than 3.9
million users compared to the same period last year.
“Where’s My Refund is easy to
use,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “It is the fastest way to check
on a refund. Taxpayers who file Form 1040EZ-T can also take advantage of
Where’s My Refund to find out about the telephone excise tax refund.”
Taxpayers can check their
refund status online anytime from anywhere. It is available 24 hours a day,
7 days a week, worldwide, only by visiting IRS.gov. Taxpayers can securely
access their personal refund information by entering their Social Security
number, filing status and the exact amount of their refund. These shared
secrets, known only to the taxpayer and IRS, verify the person is authorized
to access the account.
FREE FILE AVAILABLE FOR REQUESTING
TELEPHONE TAX REFUND
Service Includes People Who Do Not Need to File a Tax Return
The Internal Revenue Service reminds
telephone customers who do not normally file tax returns that they can use
Free File to request the telephone excise tax refund. This group includes
low-income people, many of them senior citizens. IRS's Free File is the
easiest and quickest way to request the refund, which, if directly
deposited, could arrive in the taxpayer's bank account in two weeks or less.
“This program provides the option for most
people to do their taxes electronically and for free," said IRS Commissioner
Mark W. Everson. "Free File is a great choice for people who don’t normally
need to file a tax return but who are entitled to this special telephone
excise tax refund.”
The refund covers the 3-percent tax paid on
long-distance and bundled service billed after Feb. 28, 2003, and before
Aug. 1, 2006.
Federal long-distance excise taxes paid on
land line, cell phone, fax and Internet phone service qualify for the
refund. This includes bundled service — local and long-distance service
provided under a plan that does not separately list the charge for local
service. Bundled service includes, for example, phone plans that provide
both local and long-distance service for either a flat monthly fee or a
charge that varies with the time for which the service is used.