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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

This week, the Florida Cabinet took our meeting on the road from Tallahassee to Cape Canaveral, which has long been the epicenter for space exploration. The shuttle program may have been retired, but this regionGov. Scott and CFO Atwater visit with Floridians. gives Florida a unique opportunity to diversify our economy. Our goal should be to take NASA’s Kennedy Space Center into the future by not only attracting new opportunities in the aerospace industry that symbolize the mission of the center, but also by increasing the competitive business climate in this unique part of Florida.

The Space Coast has grown to become home to some of the largest technology corporations, and the region’s economy CFO at Kennedy Space Centerfeatures cutting-edge communications, electronics, aerospace, advanced security and other emerging technologies. Our focus is to continue to bring these kinds of high-wage jobs to our state and to ensure that our universities produce intellectual, job-ready graduates that high-tech and innovative companies are seeking. The Space Coast is a great example of how we should strive to diversify our economy. If we can bring tech-based businesses to Florida, we will be able to propel our state further down the path of stable economic growth.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida Aims to White Out Teen Crashes

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor VehiclesTraffic crashes are the number one killer of teens in Florida and in the United States. To keep more teens safe in the driver and passenger seats, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles joined five high schools in areas throughout the state to host White Out events. CFO Atwater, Governor Scott and the other Cabinet members participated by wearing white shirts at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting to help white out teen crashes. Teens (ages 15 – 19) The Florida Cabinet in White Out shirts.have the highest crash rate of any age group in Florida. Below are statistics from the Florida Traffic Crash Statistics Report 2010 that provide some additional insight:

  • 737,645 teens are licensed to drive in the Sunshine State.
  • 26,848 crashes involved teens last year.
  • 144 teens died (includes drivers and passengers).
  • 18,543 teens were injured (includes drivers and passengers).
  • Florida’s teen drivers are twice as likely to crash as their parents and three times as likely to crash as their grandparents.

News of Interest

St. Petersburg Times: Florida Cabinet gets update on state's space industry

Orlando Sentinel: Florida seeks $100 million Race to Top grant for pre-schoolers

Treasure Coast Palm: Florida Department of Environmental Protection seeks to simplify permitting processes

Gulf Breeze News: Improve your financial picture during ‘open enrollment’ period

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: 'Dr. Beach' helps Sarasota to record summer

St. Petersburg Times: Home building rises in Tampa Bay to best level since 2008

St. Petersburg Times: Tampa clinic employee charged in stage crash scheme

Wall Street Journal: New Mortgage Plan Floated

Florida Times-Union: Giant shrimp invade Atlantic waters, including Southeast U.S.

Plan & Prepare for Successful Retirement

This week is National “Save for Retirement” Week and serves to remind us of the critical need to save for our financial futures. Floridians are encouraged to take the time this week to learn more about retirement options.National Save for Retirement Week

In today’s economic climate, it is more important than ever to develop and implement a personal plan for a successful retirement. We work hard to support our families, and we all deserve to enjoy our retirement years. The U.S. Department of Labor states that the average American spends 20 years in retirement; it is each individual's responsibility to ensure that finances are in order to live these years without added stress.

Planning for retirement? Keep in mind that many employers provide plans to help employees save for the future. Deferred compensation packages offer ways for employees to save by making payroll deduction contributions with pre-tax dollars. With a minimum contribution of $20 a month, your dollars can grow through the years into a comfortable nest egg for retirement. Check with your employer today about how your retirement plan is structured and determine how you can take full advantage of its benefits. Delaying will only decrease your ability to properly save. It’s never too late – get started today.

Women's Small Business Workshops

October is Women's Small Business Month, and CFO Atwater is providing interactive financial education through a series of Women's Small Business Workshops.

Women Small Business Owners

The final free workshop will be held next Friday, Oct. 28, in Jacksonville. If you would like to learn ways to help your small business grow, please plan to participate in this free event. Register now for the Jacksonville workshop.

The program will address areas of financial concern, with easy-to-understand training and financial education to improve the success of a business. Any small business owner is welcome to participate in these workshops.

For additional information, visit or call the Consumer Services Helpline at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).