My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

What does saving mean to you? That’s a question we recently asked Florida’s middle and high school students. Just in time for the holidays—a time full of celebrations and spending—they’ve answered our call. Learn to Save Challenge

Middle school students were asked to use the tools available through our Department to learn about saving money and then design a billboard illustrating what they had learned. High school students were given the same tools available through our Your Money Matter$ website to create a 30-second video public service announcement.

Saving is so important and yet, more often than not, our children don’t learn this valuable lesson until they are adults and facing the real world. It is so critical to introduce these concepts to our children and to do so at the earliest opportunity.

This "Learn to Save" challenge was open to public, private and home-schooled students across Florida, and it encouraged students to explore the concepts of budgeting their money, saving it, and spending it wisely. It was an eye-opening experience to review their submissions and see first-hand how children and young adults view these sometimes complicated topics.

Four winning high school student teams were chosen from across Florida and the first place video will be aired on a local TV station in Pasco County. Cash prizes in the amounts of $300, $200 and $100 will be presented to each team member of the first, second and third place winning entries, respectively. Two billboard entries from middle school students earned honorable mentions and will each receive a $50 cash prize.

Our winners include:

Public Service Announcement Winners:
  • First place: Kobe Peralta, Jordan Hanna - Pasco County
  • Second place: George Gwynn, Clayton Hobbs, Curtis Wright, Ellie Stubblefield - Leon County
  • Second place: Brittany Dye, Patrick Flebolte, Emma Grushkin, Danielle Hartley, Duncan Sorensen - Flagler County
  • Third place: Alessandra Poma, Jamie Zimilch - Duval County
Billboard Honorable Mentions:
  • Mason Frost - Leon County
  • Megan Rollins - Palm Beach County

Each of the videos is hyperlinked and I encourage you to take a couple of minutes to give them a look. Again, each video is just 30 seconds long, but they pack a powerful punch of information. If you’re a parent or a teacher, consider showing them to your own children or students as an interactive example of these lessons.

Congratulations to each of our winners and thank you to all who participated. I hope it sparks a conversation in your household about what is a need and what is a want when it comes to spending. It’s never too early or too late to start saving.


Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

Florida's Advanced Manufacturing

Al Stimac is the President of Metal Essence and the Manufacturers Association of Florida.The requirements of business growth are simple and few: tax incentives, reduced regulatory red tape, a skilled workforce and consumer demand. Advanced manufacturing is high tech and it is booming in Florida. This is due in large part to the focus our policy leaders are placing on the manufacturing industry. In every region of the state, roadblocks are being removed, technology is flourishing, students are being introduced to advanced manufacturing skill sets, manufacturers are purchasing more advanced machinery and equipment because of the favorable sales tax exemption, and collaboration is occurring that is taking manufacturing to new heights.

Read more from Al Stimac in the latest edition of Florida's Bottom Line, plus many more Florida economic articles of interest.

Florida Economic Briefs

U.S. real GDP increased 2.1 percent
U.S. real GDP increased 2.1 percent in the third quarter according to the second estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is a 0.6 percentage point increase from the first estimate of 1.5 percent. Real gross domestic product is the value of goods and services produced by the nation’s economy.
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis

Florida’s new home construction permits up over the year
Florida’s new home construction permits rose 9.7 percent over the year in October. In October, there were 9,062 new construction permits, 13 percent less than last month (10,390) and up 9.7 percent from October of 2014 (8,259).
Source: U.S. Census