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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

Nearly two years ago, our state was faced with a new challenge, not natural but manmade. It impacted our beautiful beaches, our seafood, and it scared our visitors away. There was no guidebook, custom or local protocol for how to recover from an oil spill, but the communities of the Gulf Coast weathered this storm head-on with strength, resolve and grit.

We must now enter into a new phase to prepare and protect these communities from further economic harm. We can do this by diversifying, redefining and reinventing the economy. This week, when I visited the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, we spoke about the adversity the Gulf communities have faced and how the business community has proven it is resilient and ready for a challenge. There is tremendous opportunity for economic growth and diversity in the Gulf region. Our elected leaders have helped create an environment that is business-friendly and have attracted new and innovative companies to our state. But it is the resolve and hard work of our fellow Floridians who will take these incentives and make the American dream a reality.

Creating a sustainable economy and jobs are the two most important goals for the long-term prosperity of our state. Diversifying doesn’t mean abandoning the industries that have been the economic pulse of our state for decades. It means branching out, fostering innovation and planning for the success of future generations.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud & Abuse

On Wednesday, CFO Jeff Atwater joined Gov. Rick Scott and a broad coalition of Florida consumers, business leaders, law enforcement officials and concerned citizens to urge the legislature to take immediate action this session to "Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud and Abuse" in the personal injury protection (PIP) system.CFO speaks to press about PIP fraud

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Florida insurance consumers pay 56 percent more than consumers in other states for automobile insurance. In addition, the National Insurance Crime Bureau states that Florida led the nation in questionable insurance claims from 2007 to 2009. Four of the top 10 U.S. cities with the highest rate of staged accidents are in Florida: Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Hialeah.

Watch the "Put the Brakes on Accident Fraud and Abuse" video.

News of Interest

WTSP News 10 Tampa: Florida drivers said to pay $1 billion more in auto insurance because of staged crashes

Orlando Sentinel: Scott says PIP program 'has to be fixed'

Jacksonville Business Journal: Florida among best states for business

WTSP News 10 Tampa: "Hiring Florida's Heroes" launches across state

Forbes Magazine: Orlando best city in the U.S. to find bargains, Forbes magazine says

Florida Today: NASA updates commercial crew plans

Florida Today: Four areas on Space Coast show promise for 2012

An update from Florida’s Bottom Line: Rural Areas Boom

Adding nearly 256,000 people in 2011, Florida has capped a decade of steady population increase to see the state grow 19 percent since 2000. Despite 2009, an historic year when more people left than arrived, the overall net growth of Florida has yielded two additional congressional seats, moving the state well on its way to becoming the third most populous state in the nation with 19.1 million people (New York has 19.5 million).

Contrary to predictions, Florida’s rural counties grew the fastest over the past decade (2001 to 2011.) Osceola County, just south of Orlando, grew by 53 percent; Sumter County, northwest of Orlando, grew by 70 percent, and Flagler County nearly doubled in population. Tampa, Orlando and Miami have each seen their healthy share of immigration, but Florida’s rural areas have dramatically increased their appeal in the past decade, most likely due to the availability of affordable housing and higher quality of life.

For the most up-to-date economic data for Florida at your fingertips visit: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/floridasbottomline/default.aspx.