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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT… Panama City News Herald: "Florida CFO illustrates state's economic advantage"


Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413- 2842

“Florida CFO illustrates state’s economic advantage”
Panama City News Herald
Written by Valerie Garman
March 6, 2015
For Full Article Click

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jeff Atwater used 50 colorful bubbles to illustrate how the Florida economy compares to the other U.S. states.
As a result, the local business community left the Bay County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly First Friday meeting with a renewed confidence in the state’s economy and financial system.
“Our responsibility to serve you is to create merely the conditions where you can be turned loose to live out your dreams,” said Atwater, who was first elected CFO in 2010. “What I have a responsibility to show you is how we’re doing in Florida, because in this incredible federalist system of our country, people have choices; they have 50 states to choose to where they will live out their dream.”
Atwater’s presentation looked at how Florida has measured up to other states in terms of debt-to-income ratio and state taxes collected per capita following the Great Recession.

“Florida cut spending during this period by $6 billion because the problem was getting worse by the year,” he said. “By reducing taxes and by reducing debt $4 billion in that timeline from ’10 to ’13, more money is now available because your economic engine is running again.”
Those actions to cut spending and pay down the state’s debt left Florida with the lowest per capita tax rate in 2013, along with a $1.5 billion budget surplus. Over the span of 10 years, the state’s per capita tax rate fell from $2,040 in 2004 to $1,600.

Florida’s financial position is also one many have taken note of, with more people relocating to the state every year. Over the last 17 years, Florida has seen $105 billion in working income moving to the state, while states like California and New York have posted billions in losses.

“When we do it right, the capital will move,” Atwater said. “When we have the right public policies ... those dreamers, those innovators, they will pack up and they’ll go to that place that they believe most (supports) their potential to succeed.”

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