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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hundreds rally at tea party outside Capitol




House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (above) stirred the hundreds waiving signs at the tea party rally outside the state Capitol on Thursday, taking a break the debate about a major overhaul of Medicaid.

"We need a declaration of renewed independence," said Hasner, who called for a non-binding ballot referendum that asks Congress to pass a balanced budget.

As Hasner spoke, organizers in the crowd distributed fliers urging people to call his office to support it. The referendum -- which amounts to a political poll -- will cost the state $80,000.

One sign in the crowd held interesting meaning: "No backroom deals." In Washington, Republicans make the allegation against Democrats, but it's the opposite here, where Democrats continue to blast the House GOP for secret budget negotiations.

Afterward, Hasner took a deep breath and struck a more conciliatory tone when speaking of Gov. Charlie Crist's veto of Senate Bill 6. He dismissed the idea of repercussions for Crist. "There are still 15 days to go in session and we are going to have to work together to be able to pass a balanced budget," he said.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:29am]


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