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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist: Rejecting stimulus cash is for dummies

4

March

Yesterday in his state of the state speech, Gov. Charlie Crist suggested that those who wanted to reject the stimulus money for Florida weren't "good, decent human beings." Today, in a meeting with his new stimulus czar, Don Winstead, and agency chiefs, Crist went a little further. He said lawmakers will take the cash because they're smart. So guess what the opposite of taking the cash means for someone's intelligence?

Crist all but guaranteed the Legislature will take the stimulus cash because it really has no other decent option.

"The other choices besides using the stimulus money are not that great," Crist said. "My friends in the House and Senate are smart. They’re smart people. The longer any of us have the opportunity to analyze the situation, an obvious conclusion becomes obvious after a while.”

Crist's meeting began with a little good news/bad news for Florida re: the stimulus package. The total estimated that's available for the state is a little higher and now weighs in at nearly $13.5 billion. But the $12.2 billion originally estimated for the state budget is now down, to $10.5 billion.

The specific facts didn't matter to Crist. He just hailed all the help Floridians would get, from more unemployment aid, to food stamps to extra transportation projects.

What about all the concern about "strings attached" to the federal money? Crist's budget chief, Jerry McDaniel, politely muted the criticism by saying that nearly all federal money flowing to states has requirements and Florida has always figured out how to deal with it just fine. McDaniel said top legislative analysts and some lawmakers are growing more comfortable as the information about the stim package becomes clearer.

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 8:29pm]

    

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