My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

We’re almost halfway through the 2016 Hurricane Season, and we’ve remained largely lucky and unscathed. However, we’re approaching what is notoriously the strongest part of the season, and it’s proving true this year as well. The tropics are active, with Tropical Storm Gaston right now gaining strength in the east Atlantic. Tropical Storm Fiona remains a storm to watch, and a third storm system is forming in the tropics and catching the eye of meteorologists across the Southeast.

Many of you may remember a late summer storm that hit 24 years ago today — Hurricane Andrew. As it tore through Miami, it left more than 160,000 Hurricane Andrewpeople displaced from their homes and racked up more than $26 billion in damages. Those memories remain vivid in my mind, and undoubtedly in many of your minds as well.

It’s been 10 years since our last major landfall, yet I’ve reminded you time and time again to make sure you’re prepared. All Floridians know that the question is when, not if, the next storm will come, so dust off your plans and let’s get to work! That means for us as well, and next month, we’re going to practice what we preach.

While our plans have been prepared and have lain in waiting, we’ve not performed our post-storm field work in a decade. Destruction from Hurricane Andrew After a storm, phone lines are sometimes down and Internet connections just a dream, yet you still need to communicate with your insurance carrier to report damages. That’s where my office comes in. Following storms that knock out traditional communication pathways, we’ll travel to the affected community and set up satellite communications systems to help you in your time of need.

We invite the top insurance carriers in the area and we create a mobile insurance village that allows Floridians to begin the claims process in a timely and less stressful manner. To make sure that not only my office is ready but also the insurance carriers themselves, we’re planning to host a trial run soon in Tampa. I hope you’ll join us — it’s truly a sight to see. Keep a look out for date, time and location.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida's Bottom Line: Financial Infrastructure

Chris Oakley, VP of Federal Reserve Bank of Atlantaa's Jacksonville BranchChris Oakley guest authored a column in our latest edition that focuses on financial infrastructure. Here is an excerpt:

When we think of our economic infrastructure, we tend to think of roads, bridges, railways, pipelines, and airports—our physical infrastructure that helps with the safe and efficient movement of goods that are essential to an orderly functioning of the U.S. economy. It is important to remember, however, that a safe and efficient payments system infrastructure is equally important for economic stability and growth. A modern, safe, and efficient payments system is a necessary part of a well-functioning economy.

The United States has a long history of payments system innovation, with much being driven by technological advancements. In 2004, the Federal Reserve implemented a strategy to address the shift in business and consumer preference away from paper check to electronic payments processing.

Read more from Chris Oakley in Florida's Bottom Line, CFO Atwater's award-winning quarterly economic magazine, focused on providing you with the latest news and insightful analysis on Florida's economic and financial health.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s unemployment rate unchanged in July
Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in July, unchanged from June (4.7 percent) and down 0.5 percentage points from July of last year (5.2 percent). The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in July. 
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Florida ranked the eighth most free state in the U.S.
In a recent report by the Cato Institute, Florida ranked eighth for overall freedom in the U.S. The report noted that amongst all of Florida’s indicators, the state ranked fourth for fiscal freedom, sixth for economic freedom, and third for educational freedom.
Source: Cato Institute