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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Theyyyy'rrree back: Charlie Crist and Alex Sink return to Tallahassee to propose oil-drilling ban




Former Gov. Charlie Crist and former CFO Alex Sink returned to Tallahassee Wednesday to promote a petition drive to place a question on the November 2012 ballot banning near-shore oil drilling. Find the petition here.

"This puts it in the hands of the people and that's exactly where it should be," said Crist, who failed to convince legislators to put the question on the ballot in 2010.

Said Sink: "It's time for the people of Florida to stand up and say we don't have to worry about the Legislature. We'll go straight to the amendment process."

The amendment would prohibit oil drilling or exploration within 10 miles of Florida's shoreline. Legislators, Sink and Crist used the example of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to document the problems with oil drilling (That rig, of course, would not be affected by a Florida ban).

Crist and Sink also took several questions on the Rick Scott's budget proposal.

Sink roundly criticized Scott's education spending plan, which would reduce per-pupil spending and cut teacher pay by requiring them to contribute five percent to their retirement.

"I certainly think that cutting education ... by a reported $3.3 billion is a lot," Sink said. "That is not the direction to take if we truly want to rebuild our economy .... Education is our investment in the future. To cut teacher salaries five percent -- we ought to be talking about how to increase teacher salary. That's going to have a very destabilizing and negative impact on our economy, and it will impact jobs in a negative way."

Crist punted (Video here). "I've read about it (Scott's budget), and the process will start now in the Legislature. I wish them all the best."

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 2:10pm]


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