FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
Volume 5, Number 17, April 25,
This week we enjoyed the 38th Earth Day at the Capitol
in celebration of the beautiful state in which we live.
From the Panhandle to the Keys, Floridians love the
beauty of our beaches, trails, rivers and hills. Earth
awareness of the
ongoing need to protect these natural places.
theme for this year’s day was Celebrating
Environmental Citizenship in Our Community, At Home, At
Work and At School
The Departments of Environmental
Protection and Education partnered with a number
of federal, state, local and community organizations to
host booths, exhibits and informational programs during
Earth Day at the Capitol.
Visitors helped sew oyster mats
for environmental oyster bed restoration, received
recipes for green cleaning supplies, learned to compost
from yard and kitchen scraps, and viewed exhibits from
DOE's Learn and Serve student service learning projects
from around the state.
The celebration of Earth Day recognizes the
important role education and science can
play in environmental protection. The first
official Earth Day was held in 1970 with the
mission of uniting the world toward a common
cause of environmental protection and
makes us aware that concern about our
environment and conservation of our natural
resources are the responsibility of every
one of us. Florida citizens and visitors
love what Florida offers, from the array of
recreational possibilities to a soothing
view of the sun setting through the trees.
Let's work together to keep it ecologically
sound and environmentally healthy by making
every day earth day!
CFO SINK SPEAKS AT THE FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL'S
115th RECRUIT CLASS
On Thursday, CFO Sink was the keynote
speaker at the Florida Highway Patrol’s 115th
recruit class graduation. Thanking them for their sacrifices, she
praised the FHP’s mission of protecting Floridians
through service, education, and enforcement.
The 115th recruit class consisted of 37 men and five
women. Recruits must endure a 30-week training session,
an extensive application process, and relocate upon
completion of the program.
CFO WELCOMES BROWARD DAYS DELEGATION
Florida CFO Alex Sink joined more than 200 Broward Days
participants on the eve of their 20th Annual two-day event that brings
county leaders, citizens and business leaders to Tallahassee to advocate for
the regions’ concerns.
CFO Sink congratulated the group on the transformation of Broward County
over the last several decades from what was primarily a resort and
retirement-based economy to a diverse business community with home grown
companies such as Blockbuster, AutoNation and JM Family Enterprises, just to
name a few.
“Broward County was once known almost exclusively for Annette Funicello and
its affordability for retirees from our northern states,” said Sink. “Thanks
to the vision of leaders like many of you in this room, today it is a
thriving multicultural business community and boasts a thriving urban
downtown with housing, arts, entertainment and shopping venues, and a strong
The crowd responded enthusiastically to the CFO’s report on the importance
of Florida’s marine industries to the region, which is forecast to become
one cruise ship port of call within the decade and is currently among the busiest ports in the U.S. for ethanol and other
The CFO was thanked for her service to Florida, particularly for her work on
reducing the looming CAT Fund assessments that Floridians are on the hook
for when the next big hurricane strikes.
STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S TRAINING FOR
FLORIDA’S VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS
temperature hovered at near 39 degrees as 150 volunteer
firefighters from all over the State of Florida gathered on
April 16, 2008, in the auditorium of the Florida State Fire
College in Ocala to kick off Volunteer Week. All the classes
that day started in the warmth of the classroom; however, by the
time Vehicle Extrication, Fire Safety and Survival Techniques,
and Basic Fire Ground Skills moved outside, the weather was
beautiful and continued that way through the entire event.
Instructors shared information about the tragic death of two volunteer
firefighters in the Colorado wildfires last week which seemed to set the
tone that safety and protection of our own were key for the week.
Dave Casey, Superintendent at the Fire College said; “Our goal is to
provide training in a safe environment and that this message is taken
back to the local departments. Volunteers serve tirelessly in their
communities and the 15th annual event gives us a chance to give back to
them with the free training.”
Participants in Course Delivery, Clandestine Drug Lab Awareness,
and a new class dealing with Rehab Operations came from as far
north as Escambia and Nassau Counties and as far south as the
Florida Keys. Patrick Garvey, Asst. Chief of the Brent Fire
Department in Escambia County praised the State Fire Marshal and
the efforts of the Florida State Fire College. “Our department
has participated in Volunteer Weeks now for a number of years
and as usual, the training was great and we really appreciated
the safety theme.”
SECOND ANNUAL FLORIDA SHERIFFS' DAY AT THE CAPITOL
The Florida Sheriffs Association
gathered at the Capitol on Thursday to display a selection of high-tech
equipment used to protect the citizens of Florida. A
mobile command center, a hazardous device robot, an all-terrain armored
vehicle for SWAT deployment, an airboat, motorcycles and other assorted gear
were available for inspection.
Sheriffs from all over the state
were representing their counties and taking time to discuss legislative
Idea of the Week
Replace your old "heat bulbs" with CFLs
incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs, which use
75% less energy and last 10 times longer. You can save about $30 or more in
electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime. CFLs produce about 75 percent
less heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated
with home cooling. CFLs are now available in a variety of styles, shapes and
sizes, to fit in almost any fixture, indoors and outdoors, including
floodlights and dimmable bulbs. And with increased production, prices
have come down.
Make it a habit
to replace an old "heat bulb" with a CFL - it makes sense to save energy and
For more financial savings tips click here:
FREE FORECLOSURE WORKSHOP ON SATURDAY
A free workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to
noon Saturday at Lemon Bay High School, 2201 Placida Road, Englewood, on
the "ABCs of Avoiding Foreclosure."
Co-sponsored by State Rep. Michael Grant, R-Port
Charlotte, and Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the
workshop's goal is to help homeowners learn more about the importance of
a healthy mortgage.
The workshop will cover the following topics:
evaluating your situation, defining delinquency, identifying the
players, learning how to work with your lender, understanding the
alternatives to foreclosure, and what a counseling session can offer.
The nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Services of
Central Florida and the Florida Gulf Coast Inc. will present the
For more information visit
RETIREES, DISABLED VETS CAN STILL FILE FOR 2008 STIMULUS PAYMENTS
Even though April 15 has passed, the Internal
Revenue Service is reminding retirees, disabled veterans and others
who normally do not file a tax return that there is still time to
submit a 2007 form to receive an economic stimulus payment.
People who have no tax filing requirement but have at least $3,000
in qualifying income should file a simple Form 1040A. Qualifying
income includes any combination of earned income, nontaxable combat
pay as well as certain payments from Social Security, Veterans
Affairs and Railroad Retirement.
“Don’t worry if you did not file a return by April 15. If you meet
the criteria, you are still eligible for a stimulus payment. The
quicker you file, the quicker you’ll get your payment,” said Doug
Shulman, IRS Commissioner. People must file a return by October 15
to receive an economic stimulus payment this year.
Shulman urged friends and family members to reach out to
acquaintances or relatives who may either be unaware of the Economic
Stimulus Payment or unable to file the tax return themselves. “We
need everyone’s help to make sure all eligible people get the
economic stimulus payments,” he added.
For taxpayers who are required to file an income tax return, the IRS
will use the 2007 tax return to determine eligibility for economic
stimulus payments of up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples). There
also is a payment of $300 for each qualifying child younger than 17.
Those not required to file a return because their income is too low
or nontaxable must file a tax return to obtain their economic
stimulus payment. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 provides a
minimum payment of $300 ($600 for married couples) plus the $300
payment per eligible child, if the person (or married couple) has at
least $3,000 in qualifying income.
The types of Social Security benefits that are considered qualifying
income include retirement, disability and survivor payments.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not qualifying income. The
types of Veterans Affairs benefits that are considered qualifying
income include disability compensation, disability pension and
survivor payments. Qualifying Railroad Retirement payments include
the social security equivalent portion of Tier 1 benefits.
People not otherwise required to file an income tax return must file
a simple Form 1040A with basic information to ensure that they
receive the economic stimulus payment. This information includes
their name; address; dependents, if any; amount of their qualifying
income (which must be $3,000 or more); direct deposit information
and their signatures. Forms 1040A and instructions are available at
Eligible people, including their qualifying children, must have
Social Security numbers. Also, people cannot be claimed or be
eligible to be claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return.
People with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are not
There are IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers open during the week to
provide assistance. To find an IRS office near you, go to IRS.gov
and click on “Contact IRS,” then “Contact Your Local IRS Office.”
These sites offer free tax preparation and filing for individuals
and families whose income is $40,000 or less. A select number of
volunteer tax assistance sites in local communities may also remain
open. People can call 1-800-906-9887 to find the volunteer tax
assistance site closest to them.
If people want to file their own return electronically, they can
still use Free File – Economic Stimulus Payment, also available at
www.irs.gov. This program provides
free software and free electronic filing of Form 1040A, and it
remains open after April 15.
CHECKS ON THE WAY
Treasury will start sending economic stimulus checks to qualifying
Americans next week, which will pump billions into the U.S. economy,
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Thursday.
More than 800,000 electronic payments
will be sent to tax filers per day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
of next week, with an additional 5 million sent on Friday, May 2.
Close to 8 million people will get their stimulus payments next
Paulson said the distribution of rebate
payments totaling more than $100 billion will be largely completed
by the end of June, well before the previous goal of summer's end.
He said the economy had slowed down
significantly, noting that "last quarter was a tough quarter," with
continued downside risks from housing and from financial market
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