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Session to Be Challenging

March 1st, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

State lawmakers will begin their annual session in Tallahassee on Tuesday. 2010 brings more challenges than anytime since the Great Depression, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the legislative search for money is on in more ways than one.

The streets of the state Capitol are alive.

To merchants in Tallahassee, the legislative session is worth about 2 million dollars a week.

This flower shop will have one of its biggest days of the year, as well wishers continue a decades-old tradition of giving flowers on opening day.

Were very fortunate to have this one day, where the restaurants get it for two months,” florist Katie Addington said.

Lobbyists were walking from one location to another, checks in hand. Lawmakers cant accept contributions during the session, so the push is on to pick up as many checks as possible.

Attorney General Candidate Dan Gelber was one of three statewide candidates making the rounds. His Republican Counterpart, Pam Bondi, who faces no fundraising restriction, was also in town.

Meeting a lot of good folks,” Bondi said. “A little money raising.

Because 2010 is an election year, Democrat Luis Garcia says expect the unexpected.

When politics get in the way, good government goes out the window.” Garcia said.

In the Capitol, the list of needs outpaces available cash by up to three billion dollars, but Representative Dean Cannon says new taxes arent on the list.

We will find a way to take the dollars that Floridians have sent us and spend them wisely, Cannon said.

Will there be new revenue?

I doubt it,” he said.

And if this were NASCAR, the announcer would be saying Start Your Engines, the 60 Day race is about to begin.

Governor Charlie Crist is slated to deliver his State of the State address 24 hours from now at 6 pm Tuesday night. He is expected to stress jobs and ethics in government.

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