Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feb. 2: Crist's Florida Budget Forecast: Too Sunny

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Perhaps Florida Gov. Charlie Crist went to see a stage production of "Annie" before he signed off on his proposed $69.2 billion budget:


"Maybe" and "Tomorrow" seem to be running themes in this optimistic budget - in stark contrast to more pessimistic and pragmatic figures being suggested by state lawmakers, whose theme seems to be "It's a Hard-Knock Life."

The contrasts were shown yesterday, said the St. Petersburg Times, when Crist's budget director, Jerry McDaniel, faced the House Budget Council on Education and Economic Development:


A $250 million reserve is alarming and certainly not enough, considering that Florida will soon welcome thousands of Haitians fleeing earthquake destruction. Then, there's the question of hurricanes.

There's also the question of Crist's political motivations: He has room for a corporate tax cut, but not for raises for state employees, or to keep his hands off trust funds.

Long before he started running for Senate, Crist had a reputation of not working in tandem with the Florida Legislature on the hard-core budget details. If he wants to see any part of his dream budget actually pass, he'd better put some meetings with lawmakers at the top of his calendar. Otherwise, he'll get hard lessons in reality - political and otherwise. Those lessons will be far more costly for Florida.

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