Links from the Times for March 20: Gov. Charlie Crist freezes $800 million in state spending
Crist freezes $800 million in state spending
As Florida's finances continue to unravel, Gov. Charlie Crist froze 15 percent of state spending on Thursday for the rest of this budget year. The effect is to hold back about $800 million that already cash-strapped agencies were expecting to pay their bills for the rest of the budget year ending June 30. State Education Commissioner Eric Smith told school districts that they will continue to get all of their money through early May. | Read the memo and the Education Department's response
Florida pension fun report was rosy, but fund wasn't
The people who run Florida's giant public employee pension plan recently distributed a report reassuring hundreds of thousands of workers that their retirement fund was financially healthy. But almost three weeks before distributing the report, pension fund managers knew that it faced a massive funding deficit. | Backstory: How to scramble the state's nest egg | Read report (PDF)
Muvico commits to keeping BayWalk location open
BayWalk's 20-screen movie theater will remain open, its owner said this week, offering a rare piece of good news for the struggling retail complex. | Backstory: The troubles at BayWalk
Clearwater mortgage fraudster sentenced to 13 months in prison
Calling him "a good example of why we are in an economic crisis,'' a federal judge on Thursday sentenced Clearwater house flipper Mark Lepzinski to 13 months in prison for lying on applications for loans he knew he couldn't afford. | Backstory: House-flippers are flopping
Florida's three-year drought: Watering restrictions
The Tampa City Council voted Thursday to enact the most restrictive watering rules in the bay area: a complete ban on sprinklers, starting April 3. Instead, all watering must be done by hand, limited to one day a week.
- Swiftmud's Florida-Friendly Yards site, with tips on xeriscaping.
- Swiftmud's quick facts on xeriscaping. (PDF)
- Print and save: The University of Florida offers nine tips for environmentally friendly landscaping. (PDF)
- Live outside of Tampa? Know the rules for your area.