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Lawmakers to Crist: Try Again

By James Call


Tallahassee, FL – A House appropriations council is not buying Governor Charlie Crist's budget recommendations. Lawmakers say it is too expensive and optimistic.

While legislative leaders are expecting a budget shortfall of around three-billion dollars, Governor Crist is proposing a four-percent increase in spending. That means talks are beginning with the governor and Republican leaders as much as six-billion dollars apart. That's a problem, says Representative Ron Reagan, because the Legislature isn't going to count money it doesn't have.

"Show me the money, and we will take care of it from there. Until we see it, we can't do anything about it. We're going to make it a budget based on the numbers we have. Show me the money, and maybe we can change that."

The governor's budget chief told the House Council on Education the spending proposal relies on funding sources that remain uncertain. They include a Congressional fix on Medicaid, legislative approval of a gambling agreement, and substantial growth in real estate sales. Council members say the governor should try another budget proposal, one without those assumptions.