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

Dear Fellow Floridian:State Fire Marshal Badge

As Florida’s CFO, I have the privilege of serving as the State Fire Marshal. As your State Fire Marshal, I am proud to present the annual Fire Service Awards, recognizing the heroes who respond to all types of emergencies. This week, we honored 12 fire service professionals for exceptional dedication to their field. All firefighters know that any call could be their last, yet they rush to the aid of their friends, neighbors and communities. Although we recognized a special few this week, I commend every single firefighter and emergency responder for what they do on a daily basis to protect the lives of Floridians they may never know.

CFO shaking hands at Fire Service awardsAt the ringing of the bell ceremony, we paid tribute to those firefighters who received their "last call" and their commitment to protect their fellow Floridians at any cost. This week, I hope you will remember the sacrifices and selfless dedication of our fallen fire service professionals. Remember those who may be running into a burning building or forest to help while others are running to safety. And above all, remember to thank these brave men and women for all they do to protect our families and communities.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Economic Update

Small Business More Confident in February

Last month, Florida small businesses' confidence in economic recovery rose once again, a sign that the economy is showing moderate progress. The National Federation of Independent Business measures small business owners’ confidence level based on key economic indicators. Confidence levels increased from 93.9 to 94.3 for February, its sixth consecutive monthly gain. February’s confidence levels are the second highest since the beginning of the recession in December 2007. As small-business confidence grows, so will job creation and long-term prosperity for Florida.

Be sure to read Florida’s Bottom Line.

Saving through Bond Refinancing

The Division of Bond Finance, which CFO Atwater oversees as a member of the Florida Cabinet, is working diligently to search for every penny of savings by refunding outstanding state debt to take advantage of record low interest rates. Calendar year to date, they have lowered interest rates on outstanding bonds to a savings of $105,025,679 gross debt service, all of which will be passed through in savings to Floridians.

News of Interest

Naples Daily News: Riley named Fire Marshal of the Year

Tampa Tribune: At long last, PIP reform in Florida

Washington Post: Living in my car, working on a start-up

Miami Herald: Miller beer moving its Latin American HQ to Miami

University of Florida News: UF researchers look for ways to make an emerging technology safe for environment

Consumer Services Assists Floridians

The Department of Financial Services’ Division of Division of Consumer ServicesConsumer Services assists Florida’s consumers in making informed insurance and financial decisions. The dedicated and experienced staff is continuously trained about any changes that occur in the 26 different categories of insurance. Consumer assistance and protection are their mission.

Since January 2011, the talented staff at the division has helped 24,167 people and recovered more than $24 million. The Division of Consumer Services' staff is standing by to help you with any insurance or financial questions you may have. To contact a specialist, please call 1-800-640-0886 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. They are eager to help Florida’s consumers and look forward to putting more money back in your pockets in 2012.