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Overseas Trade Mission Costs Taxpayers 430 K

December 8th, 2008 by flanews

Governor Charlie Crist isnt answering questions about his pricey overseas trade mission to Europe. In July taxpayers picked-up a 430,000 dollar tab for Governor Crist and 25 state employees to travel England, France, Russia, and Spain. The goal of the trip was to bring jobs to Florida, but as Whitney Ray tells us, some say the trip was a waste of taxpayer money.

Hear it Here: Overseas Trade-Mission Costs Taxpayers 430 K

This summer Governor Charlie Crist mingled with royalty, met with foreign business leaders, and sat down with overseas journalists. The cost: 430,000 dollars. Florida Democrats are outraged and have asked the governor to refund the money.

Since hes been there weve lost 48,000 jobs and 150,000 people have lost their homes. Its completely indefensible and he should reimburse the treasury, said Florida Democrats spokesman, Eric Jotkoff.

The governors expenses, including a one night stay in a 2,000 dollar hotel suite and a 1,300 dollar mini-bar tab, were paid for with private dollars. But tax dollars paid for nine FDLE agents, four staffers, a spokeswoman and a photographer to tag along.

The governors office denied our request for on on-camera interview to discuss the expenses.

Instead, they released a statement highlighting Floridas relationship with the countries. England, France, Russian and Spain operate more than 900 companies in the state and employee 50,000 Floridians. Florida Chamber of Commerce spokesman Dan Krassner said the trip will help boost the states economy.

We want to see those Florida companies add jobs. We want to see them expand and the governors trip overseas provided a great opportunity to get dialoged going with those companies, said Krassner.

One of the oddest expenses of the trip was 320 dollars spent on electric fans. Governor Crist uses fans to stay cool while giving speeches.

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