My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

For years now, I’ve traveled across our great state of Florida to bring the news of our state’s financial strength to those it affects most: Florida’s taxpayers. I believe in a government by and for the people—people who deserve to know what their government is doing. CFO Jeff Atwater's Florida Rundown 2015

As the state’s Chief Financial Officer, it is my job to report on the state’s finances, but my duties include much more than that. In addition to my role as a Cabinet member and statewide elected official, I also lead the Department of Financial Services. Composed of 14 unique and varying divisions, our Department works daily to improve the lives of all Floridians in a multitude of ways.

I’ve shared with you stories of arrests made by our Division of Insurance Fraud and our efforts to raise the levels of fire safety education in our state. I’ve written about the ways we’re working to make government more transparent and to ensure that your tax dollars are spent responsibly.

We’ve highlighted our efforts to produce the best trained insurance workforce in the state of Florida and outlined ways our Department can assist you if you ever run into a roadblock when working with your insurance company.

But some of our divisions are not what you might expect. For example, did you know that our Department houses the Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services, which licenses occupations related to that industry? Or that we house the Division of Rehabilitation and Liquidation, which steps in on behalf of consumers when insurance companies face financial collapse? Our Risk Management team works to make sure state agencies are adequately insured, and our Division of Workers’ Compensation makes certain that employers carry proper coverage to protect their employees in the event of an on-the-job accident.

Further still, our Division of Public Assistance Fraud safeguards taxpayers from those who attempt to defraud public assistance programs designed to temporarily help fellow Floridians in their time of need.

Even this list, as broad as it is, does not fully encompass the breadth of our Department. As you can see from these short descriptions, the office of the Chief Financial Officer affects many different people and many different facets of our state government. But one thing is true for every piece of my job: Floridians deserve to know what we’re working on.

Rather than simply tell you all of the things we’re working on, I’d like to show you. As a former banker, my confidence rests in letting the numbers tell the story. That’s why my office has put together this document to update you on some of the highlights from the last year. My hope is that, after reading this "rundown", you’ll feel confident, just as I do, that Florida remains on the right track. We’re working hard to safeguard Florida’s future and to make sure everyone knows that we’re the very best place to live, work and call home.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Florida's economy grows faster than most

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Florida's retail sector leads in job growth

St. Augustine Record: Online Calculator for Credit Card Purchases

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Florida sees bump in private hiring in November

Miami Herald: Miami area ranks No. 6 in nation for small business activity

Palm Beach Post: Florida cities top the list of best college towns in the U.S.

The Role of Infrastructure in Florida’s Competitiveness

Dr. Jerry D. Parrish is the Chief Economist and Director of Research at the Florida Chamber Foundation.With six million more residents expected to call Florida home by 2030, a long-term, sustainable infrastructure plan is vital to Florida’s future economy. Having strong infrastructure systems in place will help businesses compete globally, and help improve the quality of life for all Floridians.

Maintaining and developing efficient roads, bridges, ports, and airports is important for Floridians to travel safely, quickly, and cost-effectively, and it keeps the cost of doing business and the cost of living low. And these infrastructure systems are only a portion of the overall infrastructure grid. For example, water infrastructure is increasingly important, not only for the health of the environment, but also for agriculture and the health of Floridians. Broadband infrastructure has become increasingly important as an economic development tool. It provides high-speed internet service for individuals, as well as the components of Florida’s growing innovation economy – such as Florida’s developing Modeling, Simulation, and Training industry cluster.

Read more from Dr. Parrish in the latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line, plus many more Florida economic articles of interest.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s real GDP growth was 5.1 percent in the second quarter of 2015
Florida’s real gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest sum of goods and services sold across the economy after adjusting for inflation, grew at an annualized rate of 5.1 percent in the second quarter of 2015, according to estimates released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP in Florida increased 3.1 percent.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Small business optimism takes a tumble in November
Small business optimism fell last month according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. Of the ten components that make up the index, six of them decreased over the month, one increased, and three remained unchanged.
Source: National Federation of Independent Business