Crist 'a little disappointed' with budget
While he's "grateful" to lawmakers for budget-cutting work, Gov. Charlie Crist says he's "a little disappointed" about some things. As the downsized budget cools off during a 72-hour wait period, Crist said he wished that lawmakers would have borrowed for prison construction, which he described as "$300-million of less pain," and passed a casino gambling compact with the Seminole Indian tribe, to the tune of $130-million -- as two ways of lessening the size of the cuts.
"I remain optimistic that it will be done in March, but it should have been done now," Crist said of the gambling compact. But he added of his fellow Republicans in the Legislature: "I understand, there are three branches of government, and we enjoy working with them very much, and they've had a tough job and I want to thank them for their hard work."
On the Legislature's decision to drain about $700-million in tobacco settlement proceeds from the Lawton Chiles endowment fund, Crist said: "Those dollars are there to help people." As for the threat of a lawsuit by the late governor's son to stop the action, Crist said: "That's fine. It's a free country."