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Pimpin For State Dollars

April 23rd, 2009 by flanews

Several bills the state legislature has voted down for more than a decade could be passed this session. The economic downturn has some lawmakers selling their morals for more state revenue. As Whitney Ray tells us, the governor is even getting in on the action and asking the Seminole Tribe for a billion dollar cash advance to expand gambling.

Legislation to raise the tobacco tax, make buckling up a primary offense, and expand gambling have all been nixed by state lawmakers for more than a decade.

The Seminole Tribe has been trying to negotiate a compact since January, 1991, said Max Osceola with Seminole Indian tribe.

A deal with the tribe could pump as much as much 6-hundrend million dollars into the states checking account. The seatbelt bill would also bring in millions.

Its hard to leave 35.5 million dollars on the table, said the bill sponsor Rich Gloriosos.

The Senate unanimously passed a dollar tobacco tax. Senator Dave Aronberg said a crisis is a horrible thing to waste.

A crisis brings on a lot of problems, but it also brings on a lot of opportunity. You can solve problems that have been around for years, said Aronberg.

Environmentalists opposing an offshore oil drilling bill, say people are gaming the system.

Everybody recognizes the best way to move their agenda is to wrap it in the cloak of the economy, said Julie Wraithmell a spokesperson with Audubon of Florida.

Legislation that would allow more red light monitoring cameras at intersections is gaining more support. Flipflopping lawmakers are using the economy as a copout.

Senator Jim King has helped kill the red light bill four straight years. Now hes trading cash for the cameras.

I find myself between the dog and the fire-hydrant. We need the money, said King.

Where the search for money ends, and what the state looks like after the dash for cash is over largely depends on a few lawmakers meeting behind close doors.

While lawmakers are turning to tobacco, gambling, and increased traffic fines to generate more state revenue, a tax break for people buying airplanes and yachts still remains on the table.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Economy, Environment, Gambling, Health, Legislature, Oil Drilling, State Budget, State News, Taxes | No Comments »

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