My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

As Americans, we cherish this time of celebration with our family and friends. While our celebrations may be different, we can all share the spirit of faith and joy this season. My family will soon celebrate Christmas, and I look forward to time spent catching up with loved ones and expressing gratitude for the year’s blessings.
Holiday wreath
It is easy to get caught up in the last-minute shopping or traveling stresses of the holidays, but let us remain focused on the traditions of our faith and the true meaning of the holiday season—giving and having a grateful heart.

As we gather with our loved ones, surrounded by the news of the world and issues being faced this holiday season, we are reminded of what is important in life—not the things that surround us, but the people. With this in mind, I encourage you to be present with loved ones without the distractions of phones, computers, and all of the other modern-day conveniences we each enjoy so much. These are the memories that will last a lifetime, the bonds that tie us together as family, and the connections that forge our communities.

Remain mindful of the joy you can bring to others. Should you have the time, I encourage you to consider giving back to your neighbors and community through volunteer work. One act of kindness can change someone’s life or even start a chain reaction of service; either way, everyone wins.

Giving back to those who have greatly inspired me—the people of Florida—drives my passion for public service. I hope that no matter how large or small, it will make a difference in the lives of the people I serve.

Carole and I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

CBS Miami: Lawmakers Look At Pulling Plug On 'PIP'

Palm Beach Post: Ban ‘balance billing’ in emergencies, state advocate says

Health News Florida: Balance Billing Solution Proposed

Financial: Florida Top State Where Americans Want to Live

NBC News: Gas prices at lowest level since 2009

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Tampa area leads the state in job creation

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

Jacksonville Business Journal: Study finds Florida business leaders upbeat about 2016

Gainesville Sun: UF ranked second-best value for public universities

U.S. News Money: 5 Employee Benefit Trends to Watch in 2016

The Florida Rundown - Telling the Florida Story

Reducing state debt and Florida's bond rating.For years now, CFO Atwater has traveled across the great state of Florida to bring the news of the state’s financial strength to those it affects most: Florida’s taxpayers. There are nearly 20 million people in Florida, each of whom deserves to know that their tax dollars are being spent efficiently. The CFO has concentrated on streamlining government to help keep more of your money in your pocket, where it belongs.

The Florida Rundown updates you on the highlights of the last year. The hope is that, after reading this, you’ll feel confident that Florida is on the right track. We’re working hard to safeguard Florida’s future and to make sure everyone knows that Florida is the very best place to live, work and call home.

The New Definition of Public Education

John F. Kirtley is a co-cofounder of two Florida based private equity firms, and also the Chairman of Step Up For Students.The quality of a state's K-12 education system is obviously crucial to its long-term economic health. Companies looking to relocate to Florida always inquire about this issue as they think about attracting quality talent and growth potential in the state. Likewise, homegrown Florida companies need well-educated employees to grow. For these reasons, Florida business leaders should be interested in the state of our K-12 education system.

What they might be surprised to learn is that the rapid changes affecting their own businesses—increased customization, proliferating choices, more technology—are also affecting K-12 education. Indeed, the very definition of public education is changing right before our eyes—and Florida is leading the way.

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

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida unemployment rate down in November
Florida’s unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in November, down 0.2 percentage points from October (5.2 percent) and down 0.7 percentage points from November of last year (5.7 percent). The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.0 percent in November.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Federal Reserve raises interest rates for first time since recession
In the most recent Federal Open Market Committee on December 16th, the Federal Reserve decided that the conditions were ripe in the U.S. economy to begin raising their target interest rate. This is the first time since the recession began that interest rates have been raised and are a sign of confidence in the U.S. economy.
Source: Federal Reserve