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No Deal on Gambling Means No Deal on Education Budget

By James Call


Tallahassee, FL – Republican allies in the state Legislature say Governor Charlie Crist's budget
proposals appear too optimistic, while Democrats say the proposals are unrealistic.

The governor has been releasing his budget proposal this week in a piece meal fashion. He'll present the full document Friday. He's counting on a deal to expand Seminole Indian gambling to boost teacher pay and per student funding, but the House Speaker and the Senate president say they cannot bank on an agreement.

Senate Minority Leader Al Lawson says that means lawmakers have no way to answer the governor's call for higher public school spending.

"You can base the plug that you want to put into education on the gaming compact, but we really don't have a gaming compact. So, even though people in education might get excited that this might be the largest increase, if his own colleagues are not going to agree with him on a gaming compact, how are you going to say that you are going to give this money to education?"

Crist and the legislative leaders spoke Wednesday at the annual Associated Press Legislative Planning Session. The Legislature will meet for sixty days starting March 2nd.