My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

As summer vacation comes to an end and you start planning back-to-school routines, take advantage of free resources that Florida offers to help families with back-to-school expenses. This weekend, August 4-Back to School Tax Holiday6, is Florida’s sales tax holiday, and I hope you seize the opportunity to save on new school clothes and supplies. With two young boys of our own, my wife Katie and I also appreciate the savings that the tax-free weekend offers.

While you’re out shopping, use the occasion to teach your children about money and how it works in our world. Bring a calculator to the store and have your kids tally up the total before you get to the register. If they’re old enough, give them a budget and help them stay within the allotted amount.

Kids as young as kindergarten can start with the basics, and they are never too young to learn that money doesn’t grow on trees.

Thankfully, Florida is taking steps forward with the implementation of financial literacy lesson in the classroom, but by and large, these are skills that won’t be taught at school. It’s our job as parents to teach these skills, but our Department has made it easier by creating a series of games that will keep their attention while teaching them something new.

There are lessons for all ages, and they’re all free. Most can be downloaded and printed, or even played on a smartphone while riding in the car. Our newest program was designed with middle and high school students in mind, and it’s called Finance Your Future. To access Finance Your Future and games for younger Floridians, visit our website.

While you’re online, the Department of Revenue put together this Frequently Asked Questions sheet to help address any questions you may have about the tax-free weekend.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Patronis
Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida


News of Interest

Sun-Sentinel: Treasure hunters bid for forgotten valuables at state auction
Treasure troves of jewelry, coins, sports cards and other valuables forgotten by their owners for at least five years were sold off to the highest bidders by the state Saturday. ... The single highest bid was for a diamond ring, which sold for $11,500. The Florida Department of Financial Services, through its Division of Unclaimed Property, says it makes an exhaustive attempt to find the owners of bank safe deposit boxes that haven't had any activity for three years.

Panama City News-Herald: St. Andrew Bay Center becomes Arc of the Bay
St. Andrew Bay Center recently celebrated its 60th anniversary of providing services to Bay County’s individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The center, now rebranded as The Arc of the Bay, marked the occasion with two fashion shows ... In attendance were Lynn Haven Mayor Margo Anderson and recently appointed Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

News4Jax: PSC candidates set for consideration
A state panel has scheduled two meetings in August as it prepares to recommend nominees to Gov. Rick Scott for three seats on the Florida Public Service Commission. Two of the seats are opening because of the expiring terms of commissioners Ronald Brise and Art Graham, while the other seat opened when Scott appointed former Commissioner Jimmy Patronis to serve as state chief financial officer.

South Florida Business Journal: South Florida's fastest-growing companies of 2017
Ahead of the South Florida Business Journal's Fast 50 Awards, we're revealing all of the honorees. The group includes firms with more than $25 million and revenue and businesses with less than $25 million in revenue that have grown their companies' earning power by large percentages in recent years. Combined, the two diverse groups from an array of different industries reflect the culture of South Florida business, as there are many avenues entrepreneurs may follow to success.

Tampa Bay Times: Emily's surprise: Ingredients were there for quick-forming tropical storm
As waves of heavy rain stemming from Tropical Storm Emily cross the central corridor of Florida, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis reminds Floridians to remain prepared for severe weather. Flash flooding is likely, and Floridians are encouraged to keep copies of their homeowners’ and auto insurance policies handy, and to take note of the state of Florida’s insurance consumer helpline in case of insurance-related questions. The toll-free helpline can be reached by calling 1-877-693-5236.

Health News Florida: South Florida Water District Picks New Leader
A key player on Everglades issues was elevated Monday to become executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, replacing Pete Antonacci who is leaving to become Gov. Rick Scott's top business recruiter. The district's Governing Board unanimously agreed during a teleconference to promote Ernie Marks, district director of Everglades policy and coordination, to executive director.

First 2017 Unclaimed Property Auction Earns
Auction crowd$1.194 Million

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis recently announced that the first of two 2017 unclaimed property auctions, held Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, earned $1.194 million. All of the auction’s nearly 48,000 individual items sold, and the highest grossing individual auction item was a 14k gold ring with a 4.02-carat European cut diamond that sold for $11,500. Items included in the Department of Financial Services’ unclaimed property auctions come from abandoned safe deposit boxes. Despite at least five years of exhaustive efforts, no rightful owner or entitled heir stepped forward to claim the boxes or the items contained within them. However, the proceeds earned from the sale of CFO Patronis inspecting an auction lot.auction items can be claimed at any time and at no cost should an owner ever come forward.Inspecting the auction lots

The second 2017 unclaimed property auction will be held August 25 and August 26 in Orlando at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center, located at 1500 Sand Lake Road. Items included in the auction will be available for public preview on Friday, August 25. The auction will take place the following day, Saturday, August 26. A catalog containing descriptions of the upcoming auction items will be available in the coming days.

Roughly 1-in-5 Floridians has an unclaimed property account in their name. To search for unclaimed property or to claim an account, please visit www.FLTreasureHunt.gov.

Recent News from the CFO's Office

CFO Appoints John McKay to Citizens Board of Governors
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced the appointment of John M. McKay to the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation Board of Governors. McKay, of Bradenton, is president of The Riverside Real Estate Company, and he brings more than 35 years of real estate and property management experience to the board of governors. McKay served in the Florida Senate from 1990-2002, also serving as Senate President from 2000-2002.

McKay earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, where he also completed post-graduate studies. He has remained involved in his community, serving as board chairman for the Manatee Rural Health Foundation and the McKay Academy. He is a former board chairman for the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and Ringling Museum of Art.

McKay succeeds former board member, Juan Cocuy, for a three-year term ending July 31, 2020.


As Tropical Storm Emily Drops Rain on Central Florida, Consumers Urged to Remain Alert
As waves of heavy rain stemming from Tropical Storm Emily cross the central corridor of Florida, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis reminds Floridians to remain prepared for severe weather. Flash flooding is likely, and Floridians are encouraged to keep copies of their homeowners and auto insurance policies handy, and to take note of the state of Florida’s insurance consumer helpline in case of insurance-related questions. The toll-free helpline can be reached by calling 1-877-693-5236.

"Heavy rain can quickly cause dangerous flooding situations, and I urge everyone in the area to keep their eyes and ears on the news for updated information about Tropical Storm Emily," said CFO Patronis. "We’ll continue to monitor the storm’s activity, and we stand ready to support residents with any insurance needs that may arise."

By calling the helpline, Floridians gain one-on-one access to insurance experts who can help consumers better understand their specific insurance policies and answer specific claim-related questions. Even if a consumer does not have a flood insurance policy, helpline experts can aid in the review of other insurance coverage to determine if any damaged items might be covered.

The helpline is available Monday–Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm ET. Additional insurance-related information can be found on the Department’s website at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Division/Consumers/Storm/.


Florida Will Not Support Maduro’s Brutal Rule
Following the election of a newly-formed National Constituent Assembly, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro may extend his brutal reach with the ability to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution, making it even more important for Florida leaders to stand up and speak out against his oppressive actions.

In response to Governor Rick Scott’s proposal to the Trustees of the Florida State Board of Administration (SBA) that will prohibit the State of Florida from doing business with any organization that supports the Maduro regime, SBA trustee and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued the following statement:

"The Maduro regime is known for inflicting gross human rights abuses against the people of Venezuela, and under no circumstances should Florida’s investment funds be tied to such tyranny.

"I have confirmed that the Florida Treasury conducts no business with Venezuelan companies that have ties to Maduro’s regime, and I commit my vote as a trustee to reviewing all measures to remove every last investment penny from companies that provide support, in violation of federal law, to the Maduro regime. As we review the Governor’s proposal, I look forward to an open discussion during the upcoming August Cabinet meeting."

CFO Applauds Governor Scott’s Support for State Law Enforcement Officers
In response to Governor Rick Scott’s legislative budget proposal for an additional $30 million for state law enforcement pay raises, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued the following statement:

"Today, Governor Rick Scott moved forward with a proposal that will ensure Florida remains one of the safest places to work, get an education and raise a family," said CFO Patronis. "By increasing our state’s ability to recruit and retain top law enforcement talent, Florida can continue to raise the bar when identifying the trends and combating the ever-evolving crimes that harm consumers.

"This proposal sends a clear message to Florida's state law enforcement community, including our Department of Financial Services' 258 hard-working officers, that our leaders stand in full support of the sacrifices they have made to serve our great state."

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida’s GDP Grew 1.4 Percent in the First Quarter of 2017
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Florida's real GDP grew 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017, and was the 21st highest in the nation. Florida's real GDP growth was also higher than the nation’s rate of 1.2 percent.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Florida Consumer Sentiment Rises in July
Floridians showed increasing economic confidence in July. The overall Consumer Sentiment index increased 1.5 points to 97.7 (the second highest score since 2002). While 3 of the 5 components making up the index increased, indicating growing confidence in the nation’s economic performance, Floridians showed lower expectations for their current and future personal financial situations.
Source: University of Florida Bureau of Economic & Business Research