Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Democrats seek 'holdback' details from Crist



For weeks, the House Democratic Caucus has been seeking more detailed information from Gov. Charlie Crist's administration on the real-life impacts of the 4 percent "holdback" Crist ordered July 1 to avoid a budget deficit (agencies and programs are getting 24 percent of their quarterly budget allotments).

A letter to Crist from Rep. Dan Gelber, which was not made public when it was sent, says: "We appreciate that with the specter of an election looming, many will want to put off some of these important decisions to next year."   

"Our caucus, however, would like to get a better grasp of how you plan to meet the deficit," wrote  Gelber, D-Miami Beach, the House Democratic leader. His letter claims that any unilateral action by the governor violates a 1991 Florida Supreme Court decision in Chiles v. Children A, B, C, D, E and F, which cited "the legislative responsibility to set fiscal priorities." (Crist's administration says he can impose a holdback, under Section 13 of the Constitution).

Curiously, Gelber and the House Democrats did not release the Aug. 15 letter when they sent it to Crist (The St. Pete Times obtained a copy this week). Since then, the Legislative Budget Commission passed Crist's request to reduce the current year deficit by $672-million, leaving a $795-million gap. The letter prompted a meeting last week between Gelber and Crist's chief of staff and budget director, but Gelber said Thursday he's still waiting for more information.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 8:50am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours