My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

For many, the kitchen is the heart of a home, and as our holiday season begins, it goes without saying that our families will be spending a significant amount of time in the kitchen. After all, family meals are often the cornerstone of camaraderie. Thanksgiving Safety pie graph

I’d like to tell you that Floridians progressed through last year’s holiday season without incident, but unfortunately that is not the case. In fact, Thanksgiving is the top day for home cooking fires. I’m sure you’ve watched news stories or read articles about homes that burned down because a turkey fryer was going in the garage, or because a hot pot on the stove was left unattended. With homes filled with guests and distractions at every turn, it’s no wonder that accidents happen.

But these accidents can be prevented. Simple things like making sure the handles of pots and pans on the stove are turned inward so they can’t be knocked off of the stove and keeping kitchen floors free of toys, pets, and children so you can’t trip over them will help to ensure that you will celebrate safely this Thanksgiving.

Also, fried turkeys have become common in our part of the country, but they can be incredibly dangerous if proper attention is not paid. Remember to take the turkey fryer to the end of the driveway — away from your home — and never fry a turkey in the garage. Common sense reigns supreme, so please exercise caution and good judgment as you prepare your family’s feast.

The National Fire Protection Association has a wealth of resources on this topic, and I encourage you to visit their website if you have any questions about fire safety information. This infographic, for example, lays out the top causes of cooking fires in our country. Take a look and adjust your cooking habits accordingly.

Plan a weekend full of football and food but just remember to keep safety in mind!

Sincerely,

Jeff
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


Help Us Fight Fraud in Florida

This week is International Fraud Awareness Week, hosted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners as a global effort to stop fraud through awareness and education. Fraud impacts all Floridians — at every age and income level — by driving up the costs of goods and products such asInvestigative and forensic services badge insurance policies.

Knowing that fraud can greatly impact a family’s financial security, we’ve made it our priority to investigate suspected acts of fraud and arrest the offenders. Focusing on insurance crimes, we’ve made more than 7,600 arrests in the last five years, averaging nearly four arrests per day.

We’ve also prevented or stopped nearly $231 million in public assistance fraud, which represents the programs and services offered to temporarily help families through tough financial times.

We’ve caught more than 1,700 people for intentionally setting fires, most commonly done to collect insurance money or to cover up a larger crime, and we’ve protected Florida’s workforce by stopping more than $1 billion in workers’ compensation crimes.

My office will continue to do its part to help make Florida a fraud-free state, but I am asking for your help as well. If you suspect something is happening in your family or community that doesn’t feel right, report it. If you see something, say something; that’s the key!

Report suspected fraud by giving us a call at 1-800-378-0445, and learn more about International Fraud Awareness Week on our website at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/YMM/.

Florida's Bottom Line: Florida’s Job Market

Cissy Proctor is the Executive Director of the florida Department of Economic Opportunity.Learn about Florida's job market in an in-depth column written by Cissy Proctor, the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in the most recent edition of Florida's Bottom Line. Here is an excerpt:

In the last five years, Florida has undergone a remarkable transformation after experiencing one of the worst downturns in the nation during the recession. But thanks to Governor Rick Scott’s relentless commitment to job creation and the pursuit of pro-growth policies by our state’s elected leaders, Florida’s economy has recovered with strength and certainty. This administration’s efforts have helped more than 1.2 million families get back to work and have empowered them to get on a path to financial security and stability.

Read more from Director Proctor about Florida's job market 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 financial and economic health.

Florida Economic Briefs

Small business optimism rises in October
Small business optimism rose in October according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. Of the ten components that make up the index, five of them increased over the month, three decreased, and two remained unchanged.
Source: National Federation of Independent Business

Retail activity continues to rise in Florida
Retail activity has increased 5.4 percent over the year. Retail activity averages taxable sales, which includes business investment, building investment, and tourism and recreation among others. Business investment saw the highest year-over-year growth (11.9 percent), followed by building investment (9.4 percent), and autos and accessories (7.3 percent). Together these indicators are used as a bellwether of regional economic activity.
Source: Office of Economic and Demographic Research