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Crist Counting on Gambling Cash

December 23rd, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Governor Charlie Crist today recommended dipping into the state’s trust funds, including the Lawton Chiles Endowment, funded by the Tobacco settlement, to balance the state budget. Current year projections show Florida will take in 2.3 Billion dollars less than it was planning on spending. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, Crist is ruling our tax and fee increases for now.

Governor Charlie Crist is counting on 135 million dollars from Indian Gaming to balance the current budget. The move puts him at odds with state legislative leaders.

Crist’s plan moves hundreds of millions of dollars from trust funds with specific purposes  to cover general operating costs.

“Well, I think it’s a good idea because it’s the taxpayer’s money. It’s, in essence, what you could call a rainy-day fund,” Crist said. “And economically, it’s raining.”

At a small café in Havana, a bedroom community north of the capital, the governor also indicated he is counting on anywhere from 850 million to a billion dollars from Washington.

“Florida deserves her fair share,” he said. “I think it’s important to utilize that money to help our fellow Floridians in a time of need.”

Local officials already have plans for some of that cash. They say they need it to help with roads and bridges.

“These bridges were built in the late 40s and in the early 50s, and they’re literally crumbling,” Gadsden County Commissioner Doug Crowley said.

The Governor isn’t supporting any fee or tax increases during this budget cutting session, but that could change when lawmakers come back in the spring.

After the brief meeting, the governor went looking for a Christmas gift for his new bride. Someone recommended antique depression glass. His response: how about optimism glass?

State lawmakers return to the Capitol on January 5th to begin making cuts in the spending plan that runs through June. They will also be back in Tallahassee beginning March to craft next years budget.

Read the Govenrors Letter Here:2008-12-23-letter-2008-09-budget

Posted in Charlie Crist, Economy, Education, Politics, State Budget, State News, Voting | 3 Comments »

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