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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

It isn’t often that I have an occasion to praise the federal government, but I’m happy to share with you that last week a burdensome backdoor tax increase on businesses was repealed. The three percent withholding requirement was scheduled to take effect in 2013 and was threatening American entrepreneurs and shortening the leash on the American dream. CFO Atwater's letter to the Congressional delegation

This tax would have raised the cost of government contracts at the expense of taxpayers, and penalized small businesses at a time when they can least afford it. In addition, my office estimated that the state would have ended up paying millions of dollars to comply with the law.

In these challenging economic times, Americans don’t have one more dime to give to government. Clearly, this tax would have been disastrous to our economic recovery, and I applaud the bipartisan effort that led to its repeal.

Read my letter to the
Florida Congressional delegation.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Black Friday Shopping Breaks Records

"Black Friday," the nickname for the busy shopping day after Thanksgiving, is the day that takes our businesses out of the red and into the black by kick starting profits for the holiday season. This year, Americans flooded small businesses and retail stores, giving a boost to our economy nationwide. We saw record-breaking numbers with approximately $52.4 billion over the four-day Black Friday weekend - up 16 percent from last year. Friday sales totaled $11.4 billion - up more than $1 billion from last year and the most ever spent in a single day.

Nearly one-quarter of Black Friday shoppers were at stores by midnight, up from only 9.5 percent in 2010. Analysts believe the trend of opening at midnight will spread to many more retailers and shopping on Thanksgiving night could become a new holiday tradition. This may be a sign that consumer confidence is returning.

News of Interest

Highlands Today: N.C. man pleads guilty to $2.7 million fraud against Avon Park firm

St. Petersburg Times: Good news: Florida is aging much more slowly

St. Petersburg Times: CentCom unveils new $75M headquarters at MacDill

Florida Today: Florida breaks through 100,000 jobs barrier

St. Petersburg Times: Florida crime keeps falling, and experts search for why

Orlando Sentinel: Incentives lure Buca di Beppo HQ to Orlando

St. Petersburg Times: Mattress factory in Tampa back in production, for up to 85 jobs

Florida Today: Brevard sees Harris Corp. tax break as a win-win

Financial Education Web Site Launched

Florida Chief Financial Your Money Matter$Officer Jeff Atwater launched Your Money Matter$, a new Web site that offers financial education, tools and resources to Floridians with information categorized by the user's life stage or financial interests.

Parents and educators will find fun and exciting games and tools to teach youth about money and saving. Adults can use 29 different calculators to help with everything from holiday budgeting to planning for retirement. Military service members, as well as small businesses, will find specific information and resources designed to help strengthen their financial footprints. The site also will include videos, webinars and other on-demand resources so users can access learning at any time. The Your Money Matter$ Web site can be found at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/YMM.

State Fire Marshal Educates StudentsK-9 Misty teaches the kids!

During the month of November, the Division of State Fire Marshal Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations (BFAI) participated in several events for the 2011 Great American Teach In. The Teach In is aimed at educating elementary and middle school students about different professions and the importance of maintaining academic rigor. SFM Robot at the Teach In

Members of BFAI informed students in the fields of fire and arson investigations, canine accelerant and explosive detection, and explosive ordnance disposal (bomb squad) operations.

The Division of State Fire Marshal is committed to maintaining an educational presence in our school systems and strives to educate the public about the importance of fire safety and explosives awareness.

For more about the State Fire Marshal's Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations, visit the Web site at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/SFM.