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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Kottkamp's frequent flying may get grounded by budget



Florida's current budget crisis may be too severe to continue the cost of supplying a round-the-clock security guard and personal escort for Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, the Senate budget chief said Monday.

''I haven't learned about too many lieutenant governors being accosted lately,'' said Sen. J.D. Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. ``If there was documented real risk, maybe, but just to put on big show, I don't think we need it.''

Alexander, a Winter Haven Republican, announced Monday that the state's current budget deficit, initially projected at nearly $3.5 billion for 2009-10, may exceed $5 billion.

Among projected cutbacks, Alexander wants to reduce the state air pool from two planes to one, forcing Kottkamp and other state officials who rely on the plane to travel from Tallahassee to their hometowns to fly commercial. He said he also objects to state officials relying on the state to pay for ''off-hours'' travel.

According to a Herald/Times analysis, Kottkamp's family took about 25 flights on state planes, including trips to Fort Myers, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va., Atlanta and Miami.

''I expect statewide elected folks to be in Tallahassee and to live in Tallahassee and to do the job that they ran for,'' Alexander said. ``If they are on their own time, I'm not sure why the state needs to provide resources to them for off-hours work.'' Read more.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:20pm]


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