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Grand Jury Slams Legislature

April 20th, 2009 by flanews

The grand jury that indicted former House Speaker Ray Sansom was even more critical of how the state spends your tax dollars. The jurors were shocked to hear that as few as six members of the 160 member legislature have a final say-so on what gets into the state budget. As Whitney Ray tells us, the jurors are calling on lawmakers to bring the whole budgetary process into the sunshine.

With a single phone call, Former House Speaker Ray Sansom slipped six million dollars into the state budget to build an airplane hanger for a donor. A Grand Jury indicted Sansom Friday. They issued this report.

The grand jury report cites testimony comparing the 6 million dollars to quote a gnat hitting a windshield. It goes on to critique the budgetary process and says no wonder Florida is financially broke.

State Senator Dan Gelber agrees.

Lots of decisions are made outside of the public and we ought to make all decisions inside a noticed meeting, said Gelber.

House Budget Chairman David Rivera said the Grand Jurors got it wrong.

I think maybe it reflected a lack of personal understanding or firsthand understanding of the process. When you go through a conference process, you have dozens and dozens of members involved in that process, said Rivera.

Governor Charlie Crist said the process could be more transparent.

The more open the process can be, the more individuals have a change to review it, journalists, the executive branch, what have you, the better it is going to be for everybody, said Crist.

The governor has the authority to nix spending he doesnt agree with but he let the six million dollars for the hanger disguised as a school building slip through the cracks. Crist says he would have vetoed the six million dollars Sansom doled out to the donor had he known more about it. Still, TaxWatch, a government watch dog group, called the spending into question in a highly a publicized annual report.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Legislature, Sansom, State Budget, State News | No Comments »

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