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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist denies that Shands veto was personal

Of all the times Gov. Charlie Crist has flip-flopped, few decisions stand out like his budget veto of nearly $10 million for Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

Crist recommended the money in his proposed budget in January. He recommended similar funding in the previous three years and approved them in the budget.

Crist's veto of the money — used to treat 18,000 uninsured Floridians — also conflicts with his veto message that said he preserved budget items that "served the most vulnerable."

On Thursday, the governor defended his veto: "The concern was more with the process of it, to be honest with you. And the lateness of it. I didn't want things that came late and didn't have the complete committee vetting opportunity."

Critics say the only thing that changed between the budget recommendation and his veto is that Crist dropped out of the Republican Party and had a war of words with House Speaker Larry Cretul, whose district includes Shands. (Story here.)

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:41am]


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