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Chiles Fund to Be Tapped?

December 10th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

A trust fund named after the late Governor Lawton Chiles to provide heath care to children and seniors has already seen 300 million dollars siphoned off to plug a hole in the state budget. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, budget troubles in Tallahassee has the family crying foul as lawmakers look to the fund for more cash.

Hear it Here: Chiles Fund

The Chiles Family says the state is spending as much as 4 Billion dollars a year treating problems that could be cured by prevention such as funding pre natal screening.

The once 2 billion dollar fund was set up with money from the states tobacco settlement. The interest was to be used to make life better for children and seniors. Last spring state lawmakers took 300 million to provide health care. Investment losses have cut the fund in half.

Now the family of the late Governor is angry even more might be taken to fund budget deficits.

Weve seen a political dynamic where personal tax cuts are trumping childrens funding issues, Bud Chiles, Lawton Chiles son said.

But declining sales tax means massive budget cuts. Governor Charlie Crist says what has been taken so far has been appropriate.

I cant read into the mind of our former governor, god rest his soul, but I think its been used wisely, Crist said.

The family is so angry it says if any more money is taken from the fund, they want his name removed from it.

A law suit to stop a raid is also an option, but state lawmakers say they have few places to turn to keep the ship of state afloat.

Legislature created it and the legislature has to look at all the needs in the state and all the challenges that were facing, Sen. Nan Rich said.

The idea of a dollar a pack increase in the cigarette tax is starting to gain traction, but even that may not be enough to stave off another raid on the Chiles Endowment.

The Chiles Family says the state is spending as much as 4 Billion dollars a year treating problems that could be cured by prevention such as funding pre natal screening.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Legislature, State News | 2 Comments »

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