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There's Money in Counting

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By James Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-883770.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Governor Charlie Crist says his challenger for the Republican Senate nomination is making absurd statements to score political points. Crist is dismissing a call by Marco Rubio to exclude illegal immigrants from the census count.

The debate is largely theoretical since the census has already started, and immigrants without legal papers are being counted. But it is an opportunity for both candidates to score points. Immigration gives Rubio a pitch to make to hard line conservatives and Crist a chance to display moderation.

The governor says not including immigrants would reduce Florida's ability to obtain federal money based on population.

"Florida deserves to have her fair share, and I think that making sure that we count every single Floridian is vitally important. That's why I went to school yesterday in North Miami. It is important to our state, it is important to our people, and the notion that you wouldn't want to accept federal funds to make a political statement is absurd."

Rubio's position differs not only with the governor's, but also with Republicans in the Florida Legislature. They are cranking up efforts to track down and find every person who lives in the state. The information will be plugged into funding formulas for federal programs including education and social services.