Consumer eViews
         FLORIDA CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ALEX SINK'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

         Volume 5, Number 9, February 29, 2008
 

March 1st begins the celebration of Women’s History Month. And in a fitting tribute, the state Capitol walls are aligned with iconic Florida women who have made history in our state.

Florida Women of Achievement, a series of photographs taken by Shirley Busch, is currently on display in the Florida Cabinet meeting room and state offices. The pictures document the amazing achievements of these women and serve as a testament to the many Florida women who have paved the way for future generations in business, entertainment, public service, sports, art and much more. Shirley Busch is pictured with CFO Sink and consumer advocate Elsie Crowell, both women of achievement with portraits in the exhibit.

This month, we should take the time to honor the many women who have changed the face of Florida history. And we should look to support the future generations of women who will continue to blaze this important trail.


JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT OF WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA PRESENTS CFO SINK WITH THEIR LEGACY AWARD

Junior Achievement of West Central Florida awarded its highest honor, the Legacy Award, to Florida CFO Alex Sink on February 27, 2008, at its annual Spirit of Achievement Celebration Dinner at Busch Gardens. CFO Sink received the Legacy Award in recognition of her exceptional commitment to Junior Achievement that resulted in raising $6 million dollars to build Tampa Bay’s “Biz Town.”

Biz Town is a one-of-a kind free enterprise learning center for area fifth graders that complements state and local school curriculum programming to reinforce economic and social studies concepts. The interactive experience allows students a day-long opportunity to have hands-on experience running various sponsored businesses, including preparing and receiving paychecks, opening bank accounts and making purchases at the various stores in Biz Town.

CFO Sink was interviewed by Biz Town CEO student Alvin O’Garro about her commitment to Junior Achiev
ement and her first job. The CFO told Alvin and the assembled group that she had her very first job at about Alvin’s age, when her father asked her help write the checks for their family farm. Her tasks were to add up all the deposits and the payments and make sure, with her dad, that the two balanced. The rest is history!


CFO SINK DESIGNATES FLORIDA SAVES WEEK AT FLORIDA CABINET MEETING

Tuesday at the meeting of the Florida Cabinet Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced a resolution designating February 24 – March 2, 2008, as Florida Saves Week. Florida Saves, a part of the national America Saves campaign, aims to help Floridians better learn how to manage their money by stressing the importance of saving money and building wealth.


 

 

“During this volatile economic climate, financial literacy education is essential,” said CFO Sink. “Too many Floridians are living paycheck-to-paycheck, not saving for a rainy day and living above their means. This week and throughout the year, my office is working to educate Floridians how to better manage their money and plan for a more financially secure future.”

Representatives from CFO Sink’s office are partnering with University of Florida Extension offices, local Saves campaigns and the Financial Literacy Council to host financial literacy events across the state. The Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services will hold events on topics ranging from investor education to finding money to save. Consumers interested in participating in Florida Saves activities should visit our Web site at http://www.myfloridamoney.com/FLSaves.htm and contact their local Consumer Services office for more information.

CFO Sink is a strong proponent of financial literacy. Through outreach coordinators, DFS aggressively reaches out to local communities to educate consumers on topics such as the wise use of credit cards for teens, credit card identity theft, hurricane preparedness, small business security, life insurance and first-time homebuyer workshops. Last year alone, the department conducted over 2,680 outreach events around the state.

For more information on America Saves please visit http://www.americasaves.org/.

R E S O L U T I O N

WHEREAS, America Saves is a national campaign involving non-profit, government, and corporate groups that encourage individuals and families to save and build personal wealth; and 

WHEREAS, studies have demonstrated that most Americans do not have adequate savings to meet major emergencies, let alone accumulate enough savings for retirement; and   

WHEREAS, personal and household savings are fundamental to America’s and Florida’s stability; and 

WHEREAS, 70 percent of Americans often live paycheck to paycheck, and consumer borrowing has reached an all-time high while personal savings has decreased over the past 25 years; and 

WHEREAS, building wealth and reducing debt allow individuals and families to meet goals such as having an emergency fund, buying a house, starting a business, financing a college education, and having enough money to live comfortably during later years; and  

WHEREAS, the State of Florida is a partner in the America Saves campaign and is committed to helping its citizens take immediate financial action to build wealth, not debt. 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida do hereby proclaim February 24 through March 2, 2008, as   

FLORIDA SAVES WEEK

in the State of Florida and encourage all Floridians to increase contributions to 401K programs, start or increase an emergency fund and take positive wealth building actions. 

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF the Governor and Cabinet of the State of Florida have hereunto subscribed their names and have caused the Official Seal of the State of Florida to be hereunto affixed in the City of Tallahassee on this 26th day of February, 2008. 

CHARLIE CRIST
GOVERNOR 

BILL MCCOLLUM
ATTORNEY GENERAL

ALEX SINK   
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

CHARLES H. BRONSON
COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE


BAY COUNTY MAN RECEIVES LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDER/ARSON

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced a Bay County man was sentenced today by County Circuit Judge Glenn Hess to life in prison after a jury convicted him late last month of first degree murder and second degree arson in the murder of Tanya Farmer. Clint Martin Stagg, 33, was arrested in July 2006, and charged with murder and arson.  

The Springfield Police Department, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the 14th Circuit Office of the State Attorney all participated in the successful investigation and prosecution of Clint Martin Stagg.  

Evidence presented during the trial suggested that Stagg had gone to Farmer in an attempt to purchase drugs. She got into his vehicle and a short time later an argument ensued ending with Stagg forcefully striking Farmer with a hammer multiple times. After the attack, Stagg drove the deceased to northern Bay County where he buried her body in a wooded area off County Road 388. At some point later that afternoon, Stagg drove to a gas station and purchased a small gasoline container. The store’s video surveillance recorded him picking out the container before taking it outside and filling it with gasoline. Stagg’s truck was reported on fire a mere 15 minutes after leaving the gas station. Detectives with the State Fire Marshal’s Office believe he intentionally burned the truck in an attempt to destroy any evidence, which may have been left behind. 

The Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigations is a law enforcement branch of the Division of State Fire Marshal that assists other state and local fire and law enforcement agencies in the investigation of fires of suspicious origin.  Anyone with information about this case or any incident of fire is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 (1-877-NOARSON).


Money-Smart Idea of the Week

Idea: An energy audit may reveal ways to reduce your utility bills.

Ask your local electric or gas utility for a free or low-cost home energy audit. The audit may reveal inexpensive ways to reduce home heating and cooling costs by hundreds of dollars a year.

Weatherproof your home. Caulk holes and cracks that let warm air escape in the winter and cold air escape in the summer. Your local hardware store has materials, and quite possibly useful advice, about inexpensively stopping unwanted heating or cooling loss.

Use window coverings in summer to block sunlight, keeping your house cool. In winter, open the coverings to let sunshine warm the house.


CITIZENS TASK FORCE MET IN TALLAHASSEE THIS WEEK

The Task Force on Citizens Property Insurance Claims Handling and Resolution held a public meeting on Tuesday, February 26, 2008, in Tallahassee, Florida. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens) presented information to the Task Force Policy Administration topics. This includes Citizens' application process, underwriting, inspection criteria, Replacement Cost Estimator, policy issuance, premium collection processing, renewal process and  preparedness for the 2008 hurricane season.

The agenda and presentation materials are posted on the Web at http://taskforceoncitizensclaimshandling.org. The meeting was video-recorded and will be posted on the website.

The next Task Force meeting is to be announced and will be held via conference call.


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