Dear Fellow Floridians:
The recent S&P downgrade of US debt from “AAA” to "AA+" with a negative outlook is a consequence of the irresponsible spending spree that has taken place in
Washington for far too long. If we are to avoid further downgrades and a double dip recession, our leaders must learn to live with a balanced budget.
Fortunately, the Florida Legislature has been willing to make these tough budget decisions and balance the budget each and every year. Florida is now
considered to be a safer investment than the federal government, as we were able to maintain our AAA bond rating through this challenging economy. Just last
month, S&P revised Florida’s outlook from negative to stable, a true testament to the benefits of living within our means.
This rating gives investors the confidence to work with us to fund projects that can aid in our state’s economic success. We had to make tough budget
decisions to safeguard our rating, but it was well worth it. Florida was AAA before the U.S. downgrade, and it’s AAA today.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
Welcome to the new look and feel of my weekly newsletter, Dollars & Sense. I hope that you find this new design and layout easy to navigate and the
content to be interesting and informative. Feel free to email me at
CFO.Jeff.Atwater@myfloridacfo.com with your feedback or with suggestions on what you think we should feature in our next issue.
Prepare Before a Storm Hits
Every baseball player knows how important it is to protect your home
base. Next week, August 15-19, marks the start of peak hurricane season. It is important to protect your home base, whether that is your home or business,
before a storm hits.
All next week, I will be giving you tips on how to harden your home both financially and structurally and asking you what you do to prepare before a storm
hits on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CFOJeffAtwater), Twitter (www.twitter.com/JeffAtwater)
and Google+ (http://bit.ly/nXEyyk). I will also be asking Floridians a question each day. Whoever answers correctly first
will win a hurricane preparedness kit put together by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes and my office. Remember to insure, secure and recover. Visit
www.myfloridacfo.com/Consumers/Storm/ for more information.
Small Business Views: Tanner Paint
On Thursday I had the chance to stop by Tanner Paint
Company in Tampa, Florida’s oldest paint shop, having opened its doors in 1933. Tanner Paint is locally owned and operated by Steve Tanner and the
Tanner family. Their fourth-generation company is proud to be one of the few remaining locally owned, independent paint companies and that the money
taken in by the company is pumped back into the local economy. Trailblazing entrepreneurs like the Tanner family will keep Florida’s economy on track!
Help Families Get Florida KidCare
The annual Florida KidCare Back to School campaign kick-off was
held at the Mary Brogan Museum in downtown Tallahassee. Each year, the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation leads a statewide outreach effort with several
state agencies and community groups to promote Florida KidCare and help families apply for benefits while preparing for the new school year.
“The Florida Healthy Kids Corporation continuously strives to improve the delivery of quality healthcare to our youngest citizens,” said Florida
Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. “As we mark the beginning of a new school year, we have a great obligation to ensure our children are healthy and
ready to grasp all of the opportunities the future holds.”
The agencies participating in the outreach campaign include: The Florida Department of Health, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the
Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Education and the Agency for Workforce Innovation. All promote Florida KidCare
year-round; yet participating in community events such as school supply giveaways and immunization clinics provides greater access to thousands of
Approximately 1.9 million children receive low-cost health insurance through Florida KidCare, the state and federally funded insurance program for
children under the age of 19. Children receive coverage under the program’s four components – MediKids, Children’s Medical Services Network, Healthy
Kids and Children’s Medicaid. Many families pay $20 or less per month, but most pay nothing at all. Full-pay options also are available for families
with higher income levels.
For more information or to apply for Florida KidCare, visit
www.FloridaKidCare.org. Families can also call 1-888-540-5437 to receive an application by mail.
Timeshare Owners Fraud Alert
In West Palm Beach, Clerk Sharon Bock has
issued an alert warning citizens to be wary of calls from people claiming to work for either the Clerk & Comptroller’s
office or in the courthouse in West Palm Beach. The callers urge timeshare owners to wire money through Western Union so they can collect from a timeshare
victims’ trust fund. Another scam has asked people to wire money to collect from a probate case.
In cases that were reported, people were told to send money either to Jose Suarez or to Nicholas Danforth. Victims who were targeted owned timeshare
properties that they had attempted to sell. Clerk’s office employees will never call and ask that money be wired to them.
If you believe you may be a victim of this scam, or if you have questions about a call you’ve received, please call our Consumer Helpline at (850)
413-3089 or toll-free at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).