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

Dear Fellow Floridian:

Last year, my office partnered with the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Jim Moran Institute at Florida State University's College of Business  to host the 2012 Small Business Leadership Forum. This forum brought together small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the state, helping connect them with resources and discussing their ideas on how we can improve our economy.

This year, we have partnered with the Florida Chamber once again to host the 2013 Small Business Series: Engaging Florida’s Economic Backbone. This series aims to bring 4 out of 5 Floridians are employed by a small business.together small business owners, companies and entrepreneurs to discuss ways to strengthen the state’s business community and exchange policy ideas that will help bolster Florida’s economy. We have already hosted two such events and we plan to do more.

During National Small Business Week this week, I met with businesses at the Naples Chamber of Commerce. Having these direct and frank conversations on what we can do to improve the business ecosystem in our state will allow me to shape policy that will continue to steadily improve our economy. While we continue to see positive trends in business and employment growth, I know we can do more to assist businesses already established in our state. Small businesses play a critical role in Florida’s economy, and it is our goal to allow for a free flow of ideas and discussion. A healthy and thriving small business community is vital to Florida’s overall economic health.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Associated Press: Homebuilder confidence soars to 7-year high

Sun-Sentinel: Tech startup program to be launched in South Florida

UF News: Tiny airplanes and subs from UF lab could be next hurricane hunters

Tampa Bay Times: Study: Tampa port has $15.1 billion economic impact

Orlando Sentinel: UCF rates high in new U.S. News teacher-college rankings

NewsMax: Baby boomers moving to Florida for low taxes

Florida Today: French aerospace supplier brings jobs to Melbourne

South Florida Man Arrested for Stealing More Than $78,000 in Public Assistance

Florida CFO Atwater announced the arrest of Renell Peters, 30, of Fort Lauderdale for public assistance fraud. Peters, a former parent counselor with Family Central Inc. of Palm Beach County, falsified official records pertaining to subsidized child care services, misappropriating $75,599.

“Every dime of public assistance that is misappropriated is money stolen from families and children who truly need the services,” CFO Jeff Atwater said. “We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to crack down on fraud and hold the perpetrators accountable.”Public Assistance Fraud

An investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Public Assistance Fraud revealed that from August 2011 to April 2013 Peters, while employed at Family Central Inc., illegally approved and authorized child care services on 13 different cases in exchange for monetary kickbacks of up to $600 per case. Peters deliberately authorized ineligible households to received care ahead of families who were in real need of these services.

Peters was booked into the Broward County jail. He is charged with organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony, and faces up to 30 years prison.

Florida's Bottom Line

Florida's Bottom LineTechnology has revolutionized government accountability by enabling the public to have unprecedented and easy access to government data. This quarterly edition of Florida’s Bottom Line features information about ongoing efforts to continue making government in Florida more open and ethical.

The companion website has graphs and charts on Florida's economy and jobs, economic news and resources, updated as new information is released. Florida’s consumer confidence, a popular barometer of the state’s economy, is gauged through a survey of roughly five-hundred Floridians each month. Consumer confidence is determined by asking five standard questions about each respondent’s financial situation and outlook for the economy.

A monthly survey of employers is taken by the government to determine total nonagricultural payroll employment, which essentially measures how many jobs exist. This survey, known as the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, polls around 141,000 employers nationally.

Florida’s Bottom Line website will keep you aware of the changing state of Florida's economy.