My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Americans feel a deep sense of pride for members of our military. In times of triumph and tragedy, Americans rally behind the brave men and women who step forward to defend our nation during uncertain times and often in dangerous locations — and there’s no more deserving audience of our respect and admiration.May is National Military Appreciation Month

Not only do the servicemembers themselves deserve our appreciation but also their families — husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. The choice to serve our country is a choice made by a family, a shared sacrifice willingly made.

May is Military Appreciation Month, and while I call on Floridians to show their gratitude throughout the year, I encourage all of you to say thank you to a servicemember in your community this month.

More than 1.5 million veterans choose to call Florida home, on top of more than 60,000 active duty servicemembers who are stationed in our state. Many of these men and women continue to serve their communities in other ways, owning some of the small businesses you frequently shop in or the restaurants you dine in.

While they do so much to serve us, it’s equally important that we do all we can to help our servicemembers and their families. One way to do so is by providing programs and services tailored to the military community that can ease uncertainties during deployments or when it becomes time to transition back to civilian life.

Knowing that military families face such a unique set of financial challenges, our Financial FrontlinesDepartment offers several programs to assist. Our Financial Frontlines program helps military families access resources related to credit scores and home loans, and facts about predatory lending practices that unfortunately target members of our military. Rather than asking families to visit multiple websites or call countless toll-free hotlines for information, we aim to place all of these resources — whether hosted by our Department or not — in one place for ease of access at our site.
Serve, Save, Succeed
Our Serve, Save, Succeed website offers an interactive online destination for families to talk to each other about the financial challenges that they’ve faced and how they’ve overcome them. This tool serves as a way to connect with like families across the nation and across the globe. When relatives may be miles away, it’s an opportunity to forge friendships and find guidance from peers.

Lastly, members of our military are trained in a wide variety of specialized fields during their service. However, we’ve learned that some of this training does not Operation Dispatch easily translate into civilian positions. To streamline the process for military-trained firefighters to become certified in Florida, we created "Operation Dispatch," which grants credit for military fire-service training. This program reduces the costs associated with the Florida-specific training that is needed, while dramatically reducing the time it takes to complete these training requirements. It also allows participants to take the certification exam without waiting for the regularly scheduled exam times, allowing newly-certified firefighters to enter Florida’s civilian workforce faster.

Like all of us, I am ever grateful to all active duty servicemembers and veterans for their commitment to our country, and I will continue working to identify added programs and resources to make their lives run even a small bit smoother as they dedicate their lives and well-being to protecting the freedoms we enjoy each day.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


Women Veterans’ Conference Will Be in St. Augustine

Every year, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs hosts an annual statewide women veterans' outreach conference for all female veterans residing in Florida.

This year, the third annual conference will be held on June 15 and June 16 at the First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine. This free event is open to all women who have served or are currently serving in the military.Women Veterans Conference

The two-day event includes opportunities to network, special speakers, information and outreach booths, and more, to help understand women's health and the benefits that are available to them, as well as employment and career opportunities.

There is no charge for the event, but those planning to attend are asked to register. Registration is open now through Monday, June 6, 2016.

For more information, contact FDVA’s Woman Veteran Claims Examiner, Cynthia Vaughn, at (727) 319-7407 or email VaughnC@fdva.state.fl.us.

Florida's Economic SnapshotFlorida's Economic Snapshot in Florida's Bottom Line

As a one-stop shop for the latest news and valuable insight on Florida's economic and financial health, Florida's Bottom Line is CFO Atwater's award-winning, in-depth quarterly economic newsletter.

The latest edition of Florida’s Bottom Line highlights the factors that have impacted U.S. financial markets and what it means for Florida’s economy. Inside you will find keen insight from financial experts here in Florida as well as details about a new tool that tracks the strength of Florida’s businesses in the stock market. Shown here is the current infographic, a snapshot of Florida's economy. Click on the image for a larger version.

The accompanying Florida's Bottom Line website will keep you updated with the latest statistics on Florida's economy. Special reports, infographics and past editions are archived on the website for easy access.

Florida Economic Briefs

National unemployment rate unchanged in April
In April, the unemployment rate was at 5.0 percent, unchanged from the previous month and down 0.4 percentage points from last year (5.4 percent). Florida’s unemployment rate for April will be released on May 20.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Florida is second best state for business
According to a new report by Chief Executive, Florida is the second best state in the nation for business behind Texas. Chief Executive produces an annual survey of CEOs covering their views of the best and worst states for business. Over 500 CEOs across the U.S. responded, grading states with which they were familiar on measures including tax, regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce, and the quality of the living environment.
Source: Chief Executive Magazine