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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Which promise will Charlie Crist break? And who will pay?

Gov. Charlie Crist signed a pledge against increasing taxes. Gov. Charlie Crist promised he wouldn't veto a cigarette tax (er, "surcharge") increase, according to Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, a fellow Republican. More here

What gives? We'll try to ask Crist for his take today, but chances are he:

1) won't answer directly (see here and here) or

2) won't be available because he'll take precious few press questions at his made-for-TV events (releasing a manatee, etc.). Then, he has to go fishing in the Keys for a Republican Party fundraiser.

If Crist accepts the $66.5b budget propped up with fee and tax increases, smokers, drivers and court users will pay more. If he vetoes it and the Legislature comes back in special session, it will cost $50,000 a day to either over-ride the veto (thus empowering Democrats) or to cobble together something new.

Though conservatives might think the tax pledge pushed by Americans for Tax Reform is a crucial litmus test, it wasn't for Gov. Jeb Bush. He never signed it. Neither did the likes of Republican Sens. Alexander or Don Gaetz of Niceville.

"I didn't sign it because I'm a real conservative," Gaetz said. "I didn't need to sign it."

Marc Caputo

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 6:00pm]


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