My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

Gathering around my family’s table each year, I’m reminded of the many reasons to be grateful. I’m reminded of our firefighter community, and the men and women who protect our country. Both sacrifice time with their families to keep us safe while we spend time with ours.

This year, I’m incredibly thankful to serve this great state as your CFO and State Fire Marshal. Thanksgiving marks the start of the season of giving. My hope is that this spirit will remain in our hearts all year long.


Jimmy Patronis
Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

WEAR ABC 3: Walton County Human Resources Director arrested for insurance fraud
The Walton County Human Resources Director has been arrested for insurance fraud following an investigation by Walton County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Financial Services Bureau of Insurance Fraud. On October 17, the sheriff's office was notified of potential insurance fraud involving an employee within the human resources department. An investigation was launched and discrepancies were found in the insurance file of 48-year-old Ella Mae Walters.

WUSF: Florida Among Top States Competing For Military Retirees
States are competitive whether they’re vying to keep their military bases or to attract new corporate headquarters. And now, there’s a new tug of war over military retirees who come with pensions, health care and are a proven workforce. Florida, already a retirement haven, is adding veteran specific programs to entice even more military retirees to the Sunshine State.

Sun Sentinel: South Florida to see strong year-end holiday travel season starting with Thanksgiving
Are you ready for packed planes, roads and hotel rooms this Turkey Day? Airlines flying to and from South Florida as well as hotels in the region will likely see higher consumer demand for tickets and rooms for the 2017 year-end holiday travel season, kicking off with Thanksgiving Day, industry specialists say. Helping to fuel the bookings uptick is a shortfall in room inventory and airline seats in parts of the Caribbean still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. In addition, general consumer optimism over the strong U.S. economy is triggering the spending.

Sun Sentinel: Guarantee Insurance Co. agrees to state receivership
Directors of Fort Lauderdale-based Guarantee Insurance Co. have agreed to place the company into state receivership after the company’s financial statement was revised, turning a previously reported $42.2 million surplus into a $236,775 deficit. Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier on Friday asked Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis to initiate delinquency proceedings against the workers compensation insurance provider. After a financial audit found the company overstated its level of capitalization in 2016, the Office of Insurance Regulation in August entered into a consent order with Guarantee barring it from writing new business while implementing a plan of reorganization.

Miami Herald: Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops
South Florida job hunters found more options last month as Hurricane Irma became a memory. And that could mean wages will soon increase. Unemployment rates in South Florida held steady and employment in nearly all sectors showed gains, according to a monthly report released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The state as a whole also gained back the jobs it lost in September.

Tampa Bay Times: Florida personal income grows, but national gap widens
The wallets of most area Floridians continue to grow. Just not as fast as they might like. Personal income rose in 2016 in most counties making up the greater Tampa Bay area, with Pinellas boasting both the highest average income of $49,186 and the fastest rate of growth in the metro area at 1.5 percent, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Sun Sentinel: South Florida employees take lead from companies in volunteer work, corporate giving
From wearing pink socks to support breast cancer research to taking time off work to volunteer, South Floridians are joining with their employers in supporting charitable causes. Some companies focus on certain community organizations or causes and organize companywide annual events, while others let employees volunteer or raise funds for whatever philanthropic groups they support.

State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Releases Top 7 Fire Safety Tips for Thanksgiving

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the number one day for home cooking fires. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis released the following seven safety tips to avoid a holiday disaster.

“While holidays are filled with laughter and family memories, any firefighter can tell you how quickly they can become a disaster,” said CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis. “Although you can’t completely eliminate your fire risk, there are simple steps to take to avoid a tragedy.”

  1. If you fry a turkey, do it away from the home. Put the turkey fryer the farthest you can from your home and keep it on a level surface. The smallest spark can ignite a fire.
  2. Thaw the bird completely when frying. Ice or water mixed with hot oil is a major fire hazard.
  3. Don’t overfill the fryer. Filling the fryer to the top with oil can cause oil to spill over and ignite.
  4. Monitor the oil temperature. When cooking oil is heated beyond its smoke point it can catch fire.
  5. Get a fire extinguisher. A Class K (kitchen type) or grease-rated extinguisher is the best option. Never leave the fryer unattended.
  6. Pay attention to the stove. Turn in handles of pots on the stove to avoid scalding hot food from spilling.
  7. Check the kitchen floors. Keep the kitchen free from toys and pets to avoid accidents.

Florida Economic Briefs

Tourism continues steady growth
Despite Hurricane Irma, just under 28 million tourists visited Florida in the third quarter of 2017, representing a 3.4 percent growth rate over the previous year. The bulk of this growth came from domestic visitors.
Source: VISIT FLORIDA Research

Housing market continues to look strong
The Regional Housing Market Index for the South region increased from 69 to 72 in November. This is the highest the index has been in at least the last 12 months.
Source: National Association of Homebuilders & Wells Fargo