Please send all media inquiries to Christian Ulvert at email@example.com
Florida Nurses Association Endorses Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 25, 2010
Republican Senator Villalobos Endorses Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 24, 2010
Florida Professional Firefighters Endorse Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 21, 2010
Florida Alliance for Retired Americans Endorses Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 20, 2010
Florida PBA Endorses Gelber for Attorney General
Sep 10, 2010
View All Endorsements...
Thanks Doesn't Seem Sufficient
Nov 4, 2010
ICYMI: Karl Rove's RSLC Attempts to Hijack Elections from Voters
Oct 26, 2010
Release: New Ad Highlights Consensus from Florida Newspapers: Gelber is Clearly Better Qualified
Oct 25, 2010
Release: Bondi Turns to National Special Interests to Fuel Her Campaign
Oct 25, 2010
Statement: Gelber Comments on Sentencing of Sarasota Ponzi Schemer Arthur Nadel
Oct 22, 2010
View All Releases...
Legislature's redistricting handiwork destined for courts
Jan 16, 2012
Bill Nelson's Survival Strategy
Jan 11, 2012
Dan Gelber on exceptionalism and the old Marco Rubio
Sep 6, 2011
Who will take on Rick Scott? Charlie Crist? Alex Sink? Jeremy Ring? Rod Smith? Dan Gelber?
Jun 14, 2011
Gelber pining for Jeb Bush
May 31, 2011
View All Articles...
Crist To Throw Reserves At $1.5 Billion Budget Hole
Aug 20, 2008
TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday that he plans to take at least $600 million from state reserves to plug part of the $1.5 billion budget hole expected this year. But he's not interested, he said, in bringing lawmakers back to the capital for a special session to prioritize cuts to state spending.
Lawmakers authorized Crist last spring to take up to $1.67 billion from state reserves - $1 billion from the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund for health and related programs, plus one-half of the $1.34 billion budget stabilization fund - if revenue falls too far south this fiscal year. Last week, state analysts projected a $1.8 billion shortfall, triggering Crist's emergency authority to dig into the two reserve pots.
That translates to a budget hole of about $1.5 billion, factoring in the $326 million that lawmakers left unspent in the $66 billion budget to offset unforeseen needs. Crist said he plans to use "just north of $600 million" from state reserves to narrow the gap. He is not making immediate plans, he said, to plug the entire hole, which he noted is only a projection.
"It's not a fact, and I have to deal with facts," he said. "I don't want to lurch ahead and use the totality of the reserve based on an estimate only."
State economists will revise their estimate in November. To date, every general revenue estimate they have released since the end of the 2007 legislative session has been more dire than the last. Crist said he is not making any assumptions about the next round of figures.
It is "not unlikely," Crist said, that he and lawmakers will allow 4 percent spending "holdbacks" for state agencies to become permanent budget cuts this year. Crist ordered the holdbacks, worth as much as $1 billion, in June.
The specter of such cuts worries advocates for the poor and disabled.
"What else are we going to cut?" asked John Hall, director of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy and former head of the Arc of Florida, a developmental disability advocacy group. "We have wait lists for services of tens of thousands of people with developmental disabilities, people who need subsidized child care, people who need substance abuse services."
A 4 percent blunt cut is "totally inappropriate," Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said Tuesday, adding that some areas such as law enforcement probably can't stand more cuts beyond the $6 billion that lawmakers shaved over the past year from total state spending.
"We're past belt-tightening; let's face it," said Sink, the lone Democrat in the state Cabinet. "Rather than do another 4 percent cut, we need to be more surgical about where the cuts are."
Sink backed outgoing House Minority Leader Dan Gelber's call for a special session. Lawmakers should return to the capital for budget-cutting after the election but no later than mid-December, Sink said.
Crist, however, stood with House Speaker-designate Ray Sansom, who said last week that a special session will not be necessary. Crist said the Republican-led Legislature had delegated authority to him to dig into reserves to avoid such a session, "and I think it was very smart of them to do so."
Sink noted that although the net loss to the budget may technically be $1.5 billion, that presupposes that Florida will spend its entire $326 million budget "cushion" to help plug the hole.
"You don't want to scrape the bottom of the barrel that much," she said. "For a state that has a $66 billion budget, $300 million in working capital is very, very thin. We wouldn't want to go there."