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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.” Although we now call Armistice Day Veterans Day, these words still hold true today.CFO Atwater shakes the hand of a Purple Heart recipient

As I reflect on the many freedoms we enjoy in this nation, I can’t help but be reminded of the commitment and sacrifices willingly made by our courageous soldiers. Veterans Day gives every American the opportunity to celebrate the men and women who have served and are currently serving in the five branches of the United States Armed Forces.

One million, six hundred thousand veterans and more than 58,000 active-duty military personnel call Florida home. They have bravely served our nation, and stand ready to defend our flag wherever it waves.

Thank you to all of our veterans for their steadfast dedication to preserve and protect our nation’s freedom and founding principles. This Veterans Day, thank a veteran in your community and honor his or her service. Remember what has been sacrificed for a free nation and liberty for all.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Enter Florida Students $ave Essay Contest

With almost half of graduating high school seniors saying they’re unsure or unprepared to manage their own personal finances, and with the average 23- to 28-year-old carrying more than $14,000 in debt, it’s clear that there is a need to prepare our teens for the financial opportunities and challenges that their futures hold.Florida Students $ave Essay Contest

The Florida Students $ave essay contest aims to motivate young people to develop personal financial skills and better prepare them for college and the workplace, awarding hundreds of dollars to Florida high school students who present the best research and planning in response to scenarios that reflect on short- and long-term financial goals.

The contest is open to all Florida high school students (public, private, charter, virtual or homeschool) for the 2012-13 school year. From now through Nov. 30, students can submit essays of up to 1,200 words for a chance to win a first-place prize of $250. Second- and third-place winners will receive $150 and $50 respectively. Three winners will be chosen from each of five regions across Florida: Northwest Florida, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and South Florida.

For more information about the essay contest, including a list of contest rules, regions, awards and how to submit an essay, visit or call the Division of Consumer Services helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236).

News of Interest

Orlando Business Journal: Florida ranks 3rd for most veteran-owned businesses

Reuters: Freddie Mac turns profit, not seeking taxpayer aid

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Home prices jump 5 percent over one year

Naples Daily News: Seafood sustainability becoming hot topic among customers

Palm Beach Post: Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches about to turn 100; five business owners tell how they have survived and thrived

Jacksonville Business Journal: Instagram launching Web-based profiles

Bloomberg Business Week: Commercial mortgage debt falls to lowest since April 2010

Miami Herald: S. Florida private equity firms build businesses

Florida's Bottom Line

Florida's Bottom Line: Investing in Florida's FutureThis quarter’s issue of Florida’s Bottom Line focuses on how federal regulations are causing community banks and credit unions to divert resources away from lending to small businesses, causing them to spend increased amounts of time and money attempting to comply with new federal rules. Florida’s Bottom Line also provides the most up-to-date financial and economic statistics for Florida, serving as a roadmap for your financial future.

A Small Business Owner's Tax Guide

The Department of Financial Services partnered with the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants to host several webinars to help educate small business owners about tax saving strategies for the 2012 and 2013 tax years. The presentation will be helpful in preparation for the upcoming tax season. The webinar is available on the Your Money Matter$ Small Business Page.FICPA and DFS Consumer Services

Future financial services webinars will be offered by the department to help small businesses succeed despite the challenging economic times. Please let us know of any ideas for future webinars.