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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist to sign budget, but very quietly



So little will be vetoed from next year's budget that Gov. Charlie Crist won't even bother with a public signing ceremony for the media Wednesday. But with the first cuts in per-pupil spending in decades, deep cuts in vital health care programs and the elimination of hundreds of state jobs, maybe Crist is taking the politically prudent course.

"There will not be a signing ceremony tomorrow (Wednesday)," spokesman Sterling Ivey confirms. Florida TaxWatch has fingered about $100-million worth of questionable pork or "turkeys" in the budget, but Crist signaled to reporters that he considers most lawmakers' stuff to be valuable job-producing projects that help jump-start the economy (Pssst.: It's also an election year). Last year, his first as governor, Crist axed a record $459-million in spending, partly to emphasize his fiscally conservative side.

"If I think they're meritorious, if they're worthy, if they help clean up rivers, for example -- things like that are very important to me," Crist said of this year's projects. (The budget ihas more than $66-million in state-funded water and wastewater projects). Clearly, Crist found little to veto from the shrunken $66-billion budget. But when was the last time he passed up a chance to appear in front of the cameras?

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:22am]


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