My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and while it is my hope that no one is ever involved in an abusive relationship, the fact is that unfortunately it does happen in our state. Domestic violence is an issue that we must talk about — within our households, within our communities, within our state. Your L.I.F.E.

Studies have shown finances play a significant role in abusive relationships. Finances can be manipulated by an abuser to trick a survivor into staying, and a lack of financial stability can prevent a survivor from leaving. That is a fact I want to help change. It takes an unbelievable amount of courage to walk away from an abusive relationship, and I want to help ensure that survivors have the tools available to be financially successful when they do.

In an overwhelming number of abusive relationships, survivors list financial concerns as one of their top reasons for staying in or returning to an abusive relationship. In fact, that number is 98 percent, and it’s a painful statistic to hear. I feel firmly that everyone should hold the keys to their own financial future, and, by empowering survivors to gain financial independence, we hope to help end financial abuse.

That’s why my office expanded our financial literacy programs to include materials tailored to meeting the needs of domestic abuse survivors. We created the program in concert with experts in the field, and our Your L.I.F.E program, which stands for "Learn Individual Financial Empowerment," teaches survivors about banking and budgeting, saving and spending, etc. Each chapter of our program covers the educational tools needed to claim financial stability and to provide for a better financial future.

Our program has been available for one year and while we’re working with partners across the state to get this critical information into the hands of every individual who needs it, I hope you’ll share it if you have a friend or loved one who may be in need of it. The materials are completely free, and they can be accessed through our Your Money Matter$ website, which houses all of our financial literacy programs.

If you are personally in need or if you wish to help someone you care about leave an abusive relationship, we can help. To create a safety plan with a domestic violence advocate, please call Florida’s Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119.

Bottom line is: if you see something, say something. It is only through education and awareness that we can work toward ending domestic violence in Florida.

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


Emergency Financial Preparedness ToolkitCFO Atwater Urges Floridians to #GetAPlan Ahead of Hurricane Matthew

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater urged Floridians to make sure they are prepared for potential impacts from Hurricane Matthew. The Category 4 hurricane is expected to bring hurricane and tropical storm force winds along with an immense amount of rain that could cause flooding along Florida’s eastern coast.

"Now — while the storm’s track is still forming — is the time to get prepared," said CFO Atwater. "I urge Floridians to print copies of their banking account information and insurance policies as part of their disaster-readiness plans."

Consumers are encouraged to download a copy of the Department of Financial Services’ Emergency Financial Preparedness toolkit. This free, online toolkit allows consumers to consolidate their insurance and banking information into one, readily-accessible place so that the information is at hand in the event that evacuation becomes necessary. Consumers should also have at least 72-hours’ worth of necessary supplies like food and water, batteries and flashlights in case of power outages.

The Department’s website also offers quick access to information such as insurance company contact numbers that might be needed following a storm. More information about what Floridians can do to prepare for Hurricane Matthew can be found at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/Consumers/Storm.

Following a storm, if consumers sustain damage to their home or property, the Department’s Insurance Consumer Helpline staff can walk Floridians through the post-storm insurance claims filing process. The Helpline number is 1-877-693-5236.

Florida's Bottom Line: Transporting Florida's Future

Bob Burleson guest authored a column in our current edition that focuses on transportation infrastructure. Here is an excerpt:

Florida’s transportation infrastructure is a vital part of every Floridian’s daily life. It is also one of the first things more than 100 million annual visitors experience upon arrival to the Sunshine State. Only through a high quality transportation system will Florida be transported to the bright future we desire.

In 1915, Florida established the State Road Department which had six employees and a total maintenance budget of $16,410 to oversee 944 miles of paved roads and 32,777 miles of unpaved roads. Move ahead 100 years, our transportation system is now comprised of roughly 122,000 centerline miles of roadway, 12,225 bridges, over 50 transit systems, six fixed guideway systems, 2,750 miles of railway, 15 seaports, 128 public use airports and even two spaceports.

Read more from Bob Burleson in Florida's Bottom Line, CFO Atwater's 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 expected to outpace the nation in economic growth
Florida’s leading index is expected to increase by 1.9 percent over the next 6 months, 0.5 percentage points higher than the national prediction of 1.4 percent. Leading indexes predict the six-month growth rate of the state’s coincident index, which is a summary of current economic conditions.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Florida's consumer confidence up in September
Consumer confidence in Florida rose in September. Of the five components that make up the index, four increased and one remained unchanged — consumers' perceptions of the national economy over the next year.
Source: Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Florida