My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

I’m sure by now you’ve seen stories on the news or read in your local newspaper about the impending Iran nuclear deal and the Senate’s filibusters to stop a vote on the deal. What you may not know about this deal is that our state’s finances are directly implicated in it, and because I created Dollars and Sense to inform Floridians about our state finances, I’d like to explain how it will affect us and how the Senate’s purposeful inaction hurts all Americans.

In 2007, as a state senator, I co-sponsored a bill that called for the removal of state funds from companies related to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, Iran. The bill passed unanimously, and Florida became the first state in the nation to enact this sort of sanction. As a state, we don’t invest in, we don’t contract with, and we don’t otherwise support companies that engage in prohibited business activities with Iran. The current proposed Iran deal threatens to undo those sanctions.

This week, I have watched the actions of the United States Senate in bitter disappointment. In what has become its characteristic clamor to do something—anything—the Senate postured and balked, quibbled and retreated, and ultimately evaded its duty to act on one of the most consequential foreign policy crises of our time.

For all of the back-room deals and arrangements that purportedly occur inside the beltway, this national emergency was met with disjointed pronouncements and a frenetic scramble to evade a difficult decision. All of this was after ample time to strategize and compromise on procedure, but what could’ve been civilized debate resulted in inaction because of a Senate that refused to even come to a vote.

To impede so much as a vote on the deal, a group of Senators demonstrated a most detestable form of cowardice in banding together to filibuster. Like several reincarnations of Pontius Pilate, they acknowledged the difficulty of the decision at hand but ultimately chose to wash their hands of the responsibility of making it.

Each of these men and women campaigned for the honor of representing free Americans in the United States Senate. Each of them was granted that honor, and I cannot begin to understand how they have tendered that honor in exchange for a procedural escape. They chose to shield themselves from responsibility, and history will remember them as the cowards who abdicated their duty to vote on one of the most important issues of our time.

These senators have reduced themselves—and arguably an entire branch of government—to the insignificance of white noise. With their audacious avoidance, they have become the elevator music of government: electing irrelevance, eliciting ridicule, embracing triviality. Americans deserve discourse, debate, and decisions from those who were elected to represent us.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida's Bottom Line Keeps You Economically and Financially Up-To-Date

International trade is one of the most important elements of Florida’s economy as it embodies the global success of businesses across the state. Successes in international trade diversify and grow our economy, and more than 60,000 businesses in Florida have already successfully expanded their business potential far beyond Florida’s shores through innovation and hard work. Additionally, countries around the world are recognizing Florida as a burgeoning global trade hub, and choosing to bring their business into the Sunshine State. Did you know 293,000 people moved to Florida last year?

Read more about international business in Florida in the current edition of Florida's Bottom Line, CFO Atwater’s quarterly economic magazine. This edition focuses on Florida's international trade, one of the most important elements of Florida’s economy as it embodies the global success of businesses across the state.

In addition, Florida's Bottom Line website keeps you up-to-date on Florida's economy and finances in between quarterly editions. Past editions, special reports, infographics and news archives reflect the recent flow of Florida facts and economic attitudes.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida ranked fifth best state for doing business
According to a new report by Area Development, Florida is the fifth best state for business. The survey ranks states in three overall categories and 18 subcategories. Of those, Florida ranked second for corporate tax environment, access to capital and project funding and quality of life.
Source: Area Development

U.S. earnings increase in August
Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.5 percent over the month, the highest increase since January (+1.2 percent). This increase is a result of increased hourly earnings combined with a decrease in the consumer price index.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Stop Adult Financial Exploitation

Operation S.A.F.E.Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Atwater’s On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • The Psychology of a Scam
  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors
  • How to Fight Identity Theft
  • Resources to Keep You Safe

Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshop:

  • Tuesday, September 22nd - Lake Worth
    11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    Lantana Public Library
    4020 Lantana Road, Lake Worth, Florida 33462
    Register | Directions | Flyer

  • Thursday, September 24th - Jacksonville
    10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
    Louis Dinah Senior Center
    1805 Flag Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32209
    Register | Directions | Flyer