Crist's fuzzy tax stance, stim math
Last week at the Senate's higher education appropriations meeting, Sens. Lee Constantine, Evelyn Lynn and Jim King all wanted to know: What new revenue sources would Gov. Charlie Crist approve of? "If you can get that message back," Lynn said to Crist budget guy Scott Kittel, when she cut off his presentation. "I think that's more important than hearing the whole ball of wax."
So the Herald/Times asked: What new revenue sources do you support, what about the cig tax?
A: “My position is I’m not warm and fuzzy about it. Given the opportunity through the stimulus, my hope is we don’t have to consider it.”
Q: Do you have anything more?
A: “Let’s see what March 13 tells us.”
Q: Don't you owe them a clearer response?
A: “Oh, I’ll give a clearer direction at the appropriate time.” (click here for more vagueness)
When asked about another media outlet about the Friday revenue-estimate numbers decreasing?
A: “I think they’re going to be very difficult. And I think that’s why the stimulus money is so important. We got a revised update on that, that it's going to be about $1billion more than we had originally been told. It's in excess of $13 billion."
That's true. Kind of. While the governor announced more money might be available for the state, it won't supplement the part of the budget with a deficit. So the general-revenue numbers will be down and increase the size of the budget hole, but the "new" stimulus money available can't be used to fill the hole.
A few odds and ends:
Crist said the stim money “should forestall any layoffs" in the education system.
What about his state of the state speech failing to inspire?
“Everybody has a right to say what they want," Crist said. “I think, especially during times like these. you have to have a balance: The balance of the reality of what’s happening and the optimism of what the hope can bring. And that’s what I try to do every single day because that’s what I believe.”