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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridian:

On Veterans Day, firefighters from Tallahassee Fire Department Station 4 were devastated to learn that their memorial statue, erected to honor the brave men and women of fire service across the nation, had been destroyed. It is unthinkable that someone would destroy any memorial that stands as a symbol of honor in remembrance of our fallen firefighters. Tallahassee Firefighter Memorial smashed to the ground.

The men and women who enter into the profession do so with great commitment and sacrifice; they choose to put their lives at risk for others. Anyone who disrespects and belittles that commitment is no more than a coward. I know on a deeply personal level the commitment that is made not only by firefighters but by their families. My father and my son both chose to serve their fellow Floridians as firefighters.

Defacing this memorial is painful to family members whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives to protect their communities. Now as a community, it is our turn to stand up when our heroes are so dishonored.

I urge anyone with information about those who have committed this disgraceful crime to contact the Tallahassee Police Department at (850) 891-4200, reference: fallen firefighter memorial.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

State Fire MarshalFACAP Investigator of the Year

Hard work and dedication led Detective Charles Toledo in the Division of State Fire Marshal to be recognized this week by the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention (FACAP). As a member of the Operation Candlelight team, Detective Toledo earned Det. Toledo and Det. Joe Steadman.investigator of the year honors for work on this major case, along with Miami-Dade Police detectives Diana Lathrop and Tim Smith as well as Assistant State Attorney Laura Uriarte.

Since Jan. 1, 2011, detectives from the Bureau of Fire and Arson Investigation have worked on more than 2,800 arson cases, striving to live up to their motto: to effectively prevent, discourage, investigate and prosecute arson and arson-related crimes for the protection of Florida citizens and their property.

Teen Essay Contest Deadline is Near

On November 30, 2012, the Florida Students $ave essays are due.

Florida Students $ave aims to motivate young people to develop personal financial skills and better prepare them for college and the workplace, awarding hundreds of dollars to Florida high school students who present the best research and planning in response to scenarios that reflect on short- and long-term financial goals.Florida Students $ave Essay Contest

The contest is open to all Florida high school students (public, private, charter, virtual or homeschool) for the 2012-13 school year. Students can submit essays of up to 1,200 words for a chance to win a first-place prize of $250, while second- and third-place winners will receive $150 and $50 respectively. Three winners will be chosen from each of five regions across Florida: Northwest Florida, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and South Florida.

For more information about the essay contest, including a list of contest rules, regions, awards and how to submit an essay, visit or call the Division of Consumer Services helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236).

News of Interest

Miami Herald: Unemployment claims lowest since 2008 in South Florida

Orlando Business Journal: Florida economy recovering at modest pace

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Car sales rebound in Southwest Florida

Naples Daily News: New Fort Myers plant creating biodiesel out of restaurants' used cooking oil

Ft. Myers News-Press: It's not too late to file oil spill damage claim

BBC: US to become 'world's biggest oil producer’

Florida Trend: Proof of residency

Miami Herald: For book lovers, a good season in Miami

S.E. Farm Press: High density citrus groves: Way of the future in Florida?

Florida's Bottom Line

Florida's Bottom Line: Investing in Florida's FutureIn recent months, several surveys and studies were released that speak to the quality of Florida's business climate and discuss Florida's ranking alongside other states. Here are these resources in case you missed them:

The latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line's lead story is on access to capital

Florida Chamber's Small Business Index Survey results

The National Chamber Foundation released a study on Enterprising States

The non-partisan Tax Foundation recently released a study ranking states' business tax climate, the 2013 State Business Tax Climate Index. This survey ranked Florida fifth best in the nation.

A Small Business Owner's Tax Guide

The Department of Financial Services partnered with the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants to host several webinars to help educate small business owners about tax saving strategies for the 2012 and 2013 tax years. The presentation will be helpful in preparation for the upcoming tax season. The webinar is available on the Your Money Matter$ Small Business Page.FICPA and DFS Consumer Services

Future financial services webinars will be offered by the department to help small businesses succeed despite the challenging economic times. Please let us know of any ideas for future webinars.