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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

This week, I am excited to welcome Florida’s legislative leaders back to Tallahassee for the start of the 2012 Legislative Session.

In this challenging economic climate, we have a deep responsibility to create the conditions that will bring down costs for Florida’s families and businesses while helping them protect their hard-earned dollars.

This session, I will be pursuing reforms that increase transparency in contracts and government spending; protect consumers; fight fraud and reduce regulatory burdens on Florida’s businesses.

As your elected representatives, you have entrusted us to watch over the money you send to your government.

Strict contracting standards are simply a reflection of how seriously we take that responsibility.

Throughout the next 90 days, our legislative team will advocate for reforms aimed at strengthening accountability in state contracting.

We have a responsibility to be exceptional stewards of your taxpayer dollars and to ensure that Florida is deploying every dollar wisely.

That responsibility includes ensuring your hard-earned dollars are protected from fraud.

Insurance fraudsters and criminal enterprises have learned how to game Florida’s auto insurance system and every honest Floridian with a car in the driveway ends up paying.

Personal injury protection premiums have more than doubled in Tampa, Miami and Orlando and are skyrocketing statewide.

Now is the time to stop throwing consumers to the wolves and encourage our legislative leaders to support meaningful PIP reforms that will give honest Floridians the insurance rate relief they deserve.

Additionally, certain bad actors are aiding in a complex workers’ compensation premium fraud scheme, which is putting pressure on rates and crippling the business community.

It is my goal to root out all types of fraud to help better protect Florida consumers and entrepreneurs.

Protecting consumers, entrepreneurs and the American dream guides my every decision as your CFO.

To that end, protecting your personal information is one of my priorities this year.

Recent news reports have highlighted an increasing trend in identity theft in Florida.

This session, I will work hard to close a loophole that allows certain groups to obtain social security information from my department.

To protect Florida’s businesses and entrepreneurs, I initiated a thorough review of regulations in place at the Department of Financial Services and will be asking the legislature to repeal or rework laws that do not add value.

We must make every effort to create a productive economic environment for today and for Florida’s future.

Technology is an integral component to shaping that future.

In order for state government to function efficiently, Florida must streamline its information technology services.

Having a modern information technology structure will increase operational efficiencies, improve services, reduce costs, and allow government agencies to focus on their core mission–which is to serve you.

All of these reforms keep one goal in mind: to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket, where it belongs.

I am confident that the Legislature is committed to fostering economic success and reducing financial burdens on Florida’s businesses and families.

I look forward to a productive 2012 Legislative Session.

Watch the video.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Turns 25 Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. More importantly,  we remember the incredible legacy of a man who dedicated his life to fighting for and serving others. In keeping with Dr. King’s spirit, this holiday has been nationally designated as a day of service. I encourage you to celebrate in a way that would honor Dr. King’s legacy: find a worthy project where you can donate your time, serve others and strengthen your community.

News of Interest

Fort Myers News-Press: State targets PIP, fraud

USA Today: U.S. debt is now equal to economy

Sun-Sentinel: Skilled manufacturing jobs emerge in South Florida

Miami Herald: U.S. still tops for entrepreneurs

South Florida Business Journal Verizon Wireless invested $205M in Florida in 2011

Orlando Sentinel: Cautious Central Florida companies forecast better job outlook in 2012

Washington Post: Google search gets its biggest change in a decade with a dose of Google+

For a More Transparent State Government

In this challenging economic climate, we have a deep responsibility to be exceptional stewards of your hard-earned dollars. My goal as your CFO is to do everything in my power to ensure that you, the taxpayer, have easy access to Florida’s government spending information. We have a government that is of the people and for the people and we can now use the Internet and other new technologies to open the doors of government to the people. That is why this week, I stood with the Foundation for Government Accountability and Representatives Matt Hudson, Rachel Burgin and Joseph Abruzzo to promote another tool that helps clear the clouds away from our Florida Open Governmentcurrent system and allows for a more transparent state government.

As an advocate for government transparency, I support all resources both public and private, including FloridaOpenGov.org, that provide taxpayers with the tools to keep tabs on how their dollars are being spent. FloridaOpenGov.org will serve as another avenue for Floridians to hold their government accountable to the promises made to reduce inefficient spending.

Together with my Web site, Transparency Florida, our great state can become the most open and transparent state in the country.

Read Florida's Bottom Line...a Valuable Resource for FL's Economic Information