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Governor Counting on Gambling Cash

December 24th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

Hear it Here:
Governor Charlie Crist is recommending the state use 135 million dollars from the Seminole Tribes gambling payments to the state to plug a hole in the state budget, But as Mike Vasilinda tells us, by making the recommendation, the Governor is throwing state lawmakers a curve.

The legality of gambling on Seminole reservations has been in limbo since July when the state supreme court said the deal cut by the Governor needed legislative approval.

Legislative leaders have ruled out taking up the deal until at least March, and as recently as Sunday, Governor Charlie Crist was okay with that strategy.

Which is fine, we can do that during the regular session, Crist said.

Yet when it came time to recommend ways to fill a 2 billion dollar deficit in the state budget, the Governor recommended using 135 million the Tribe has continued to pay to the state.

What the Governor is basically saying to legislative leaders is: accept the deal Ive with the Indians now, or risk losing it forever.

Lawmakers meet January 5th. If they dont bite on the Gambling deal then, they face a 50-50 chance of having to give the Seminole Tribe its money back.

The concern I have is that if the state doesnt do it, the federal government may do it anyway, and then the Florida taxpayers would be left out in the cold, Crist said.

And if lawmakers dont go along with the Governor sooner than later, theyll also have to find the 135 million someplace else, which may not be easy.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Economy, Gambling, State Budget, State News | No Comments »

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