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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

This time of year affords us the opportunity to remember the simple joys of life. Spending time with family and friends or, most importantly, reconnecting with a loved one.

As we gather with family and friends this month, for whatever holy day or holiday we recognize or celebrate, there is a different feeling in the air and in our hearts. A feeling that should shape the nature of our work every day, throughout the entire year.

Let us strive to live every day with the spirit of the season, and remembrance of what is truly important. Love of our family and friends, and that giving brings far more joy than receiving.

To many of you, such is the case with my family, I extend to you a merry Christmas. To others, I extend a happy Hanukkah. Whatever might be the faith traditions of your family, I wish you the blessings and joy of the season.

Watch video.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Pearl Harbor Day Lives On in Infamy

Friday, we remember the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that led the United States directly into World War II. Bravely, our now-disappearing Greatest Generation stepped up to fight for democracy and free the world from the threat of tyranny.

In his speech to the American people, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Dec. 7, 1941, "…a date which will live in infamy...With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounded determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.”

With war declared, more than 250,000 Floridians signed up to serve in the U.S. military. We remember those who selflessly gave their lives and those who courageously defended our nation. Pearl Harbor Day reminds us that American resolve can overcome all in the face of tragedy and despair.

News of Interest

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Fee increase will ding the 'little guy'

Naples Daily News: Biotech an emerging industry in Florida, report shows

Tampa Bay Times: Disney World adds to the magic with New Fantasyland

Tampa Bay Business Journal: Florida banks post $292M profit in 3Q

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Hiring up at Florida's smallest businesses

South Florida Business Journal: More South Florida companies plan IT hiring in 2013

Sunshine State News: Thank lawmakers for drop in unemployment comp rate

Tampa Bay Times: Tax incentive fever: $9 million given to biz every hour

Reuters: Small-business borrowing surges in October

Winter Fire Safety for the Holidays

State Fire Marshal BadgeSince the weather has gotten colder, the Division of State Fire Marshal has investigated a number of fires in which Floridians have died, fires that sadly were determined to have been started accidentally. These deaths were preventable. You are urged not to take the safety of your surroundings for granted. Take time to make sure that your family is protected by implementing these fire safety measures:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable heater.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
  • Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.

Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months. Roughly two-thirds of home-fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that were either broken or had dead batteries. To find out more about the Division of State Fire Marshal and fire prevention, go to

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.

Read the 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.

Teen Essay Contest Deadline Coming Up Florida Students $ave Essay Contest

The deadline has been extended for the Florida Students $ave Essay Contest till Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.

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.

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).