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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco "No Earmarks" Rubio tied to $250-mil in pork spending requests

9

March

Rubio3 Republican U.S. Senate front-runner Marco Rubio brags on his Web site that he didn't officially request budget pork in his last four years as a leader in the Florida House. But during Rubio's eight years in office — including the final two when he was House speaker — he unofficially helped push loads of hometown spending: $250 million, according to a Times/Herald analysis of little-known budget documents. (STORY HERE)

The budget items linked to Rubio from 2000 to 2008 are part of a list compiled yearly by the governor's office to track hometown spending. Most of Rubio's budget items benefited his home county of Miami-Dade — from a $50,000 grant sought for a Coral Gables park to $80 million for a University of Miami genomics project. A total of $25 million in requests were vetoed by the governor.

The amount of budget money connected to Rubio attests to his skill as a lawmaker but also contrasts with his campaign image as a tight-fisted spending hawk crusading against "earmarks'' that have plagued the budget process in Washington....

...Word of the turkey list only surfaced this year as Gov. Charlie Crist has battled Rubio for the Republican Senate primary. Big government spending has emerged as a top issue for Republicans this election year, with Crist and Rubio battling over who spent more taxpayer money.

Crist had budget priorities of his own: $222,000 for a personal videographer and $7.5 million for a government institute at his hometown St. Petersburg College, where his sister worked. Both items were in 2007....

Big government spending has emerged as a top issue for Republicans this election year, with Crist and Rubio battling over who spent more taxpayer money. The list shows that Crist didn't veto much from Rubio --just $3 million.

(Rubio spokesman Albert) Martinez said the entire turkey list is suspect because it is maintained by Crist's Office of Policy & Budget.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:26pm]

    

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