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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: CNBC SQUAWK BOX: CFO Jimmy Patronis On 'Go Woke, Go Broke'

6/16/2023

For Immediate Release: Friday, June 16, 2023 Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: CNBC SQUAWK BOX: CFO Jimmy Patronis On 'Go Woke, Go Broke'

CFO Jimmy Patronis On 'Go Woke, Go Broke' CNBC Squawk Box June 16, 2023  Watch here

SQUAWK BOX: Joining us now to discuss the war over woke and its impact on the bottom line. Brad Landers here and he is the New York City comptroller and Jimmy Patronis is Florida’s CFO. Good morning to both of you.

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SQUAWK BOX: Jimmy, I imagine you’re on the other side of this then where Brad stands right now. You have companies, I think they did it with at least good intentions, I mean I don’t think they were trying to create controversy in what they imagine or think is a pickle and they’re getting pressure now not just from consumers, but the other piece is they’re getting pressure from the investment community.

CFO PATRONIS: Sure so here’s the way I look at it. I grew up in the restaurant business for 30 years my family is still in it. I can’t ever divorce myself from a passion I grew up in. I was at the restaurant the other day, and I was talking to my brothers and you know we were just talking shop, and look we feed everybody. I’m in the customer service business, everybody is a customer. But I know this, where Bud Light was our number one selling beer in the restaurant, we got a big place about 800 seats, in a week we sold about six servings. So again, there’s no demand for it. The customers are walking away from it. And I remember my college roommate had told me, “Jimmy, never make a bad grade when you’re in college because you’ll be digging yourself out of a hole the whole rest of the time you’re there.” And this is what’s happened. InBev and Budweiser, they made a bad grade and they’re digging themselves out of a hole right now and it’s going to be painful. It’s going to be painful for a long time. They treated their customers like they were idiots, they forgot who their customer was…

I am a trustee over pensions and all I know is if you create the resources that takes care of that retired firefighter, that left New York and decide to settle in The Villages because they left that tax hell hole that’s up in that state, this is this is where they need to have peace of mind that their retirement funds are there. Again, poor decision by management. Heads should roll. I mean there’s absolutely zero excuse that what InBev did because the ripple effect. And you know what, the last thing Andrew that they’re not talking about? I look at my poor route driver. These route drivers work for family owned distributorships, and they will be committed to that company for 20 years. But, now they’re number one product when they make that store delivery, is no longer selling, and they’re having trouble pivoting that customer into something else because what’s happening with Modelo, Coors Light, Miller Lite, and the others that are taking over the marketplace.

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BRAD LANDERS: How many insurers have gone belly up in Florida in just the last two years? Because the answer is ten. Ten insurance companies have gone belly up because climate risk is financial risk.

SQUAWK BOX: Let Jimmy respond.

CFO PATRONIS: We had to have two special sessions of our Legislature last year to close the legal loophole that were existing in Florida Statutes. Florida generated 7% of all insurance claims nationwide. But we generated 70% of all litigation. We were a judicial hell hole for the whole United States. We had loopholes and law firms that were printing lawsuits off Xerox machines and it wasn’t about servicing the consumer, it was about suing and settling, and getting a threat of going to court to get a settlement. So we closed those loopholes. When I talked to Lloyds and London, when I talked to JP Morgan, when I talked to Chubb, all of them told me: Jimmy we can model for climate change in your state, we cannot model for the litigation environment you’ve got. They threw the towel in and said you know what, I’m going to move my capital where it can be protected.

SQUAWK BOX: I don’t want to go down the insurance rabbit hole. I have two more quick questions, one for Jimmy and one for Brad. Jimmy, my question to you is actually around Disney. As somebody who is a

fiduciary, who cares about your state and who cares about the economics of your state and the economics I would imagine of Disney it’s ability to pay taxes, the benefit that it provides to all of the employees at Disney. Why do the social issues matter to you at all and should they?

CFO PATRONIS: So Disney, you got a remember, we have term limits in Florida. And the Legislature over 50 years old created what’s called a special district. It turned Disney into its own city.

SQUAWK BOX: No, I understand that. It’s also clear that the Governor did this as direct retribution whether it’s on tape, he said it over and over again. You may disagree with the policy that was put in place 50 years ago. We could debate that actually on its merits. The problem is nobody is debating on it’s merits in part because what created this conundrum or debate was something very different, which is the governor saying something very specific about how unhappy he was about the social policies at that company.

CFO PATRONIS: I think people that have carve outs and start to bring attention to themselves stand a chance of losing their carve outs and this is exactly what Disney did. They engaged politically, they brought attention to the fact they had a carve out because people started inquiring. Again, if you want to say Governor DeSantis retaliated on them, on the position they took after the bill was signed, we’re going to finger point on that all day long. But Disney doesn’t have a DeSantis problem, Disney’s got a Disney problem. They should not have engaged the way they should have because they brought attention that I’ve got special privileges that nobody else in the state has. That creates jealousy and becomes a need for fairness.

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis  Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).

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