The weather is finally turning warmer approaching the ides of February. It’s about normal this time of the year. What passes for winter has mostly left us. There is still the threat of a hard freeze, but only for a few more days, I think.
With the spring, of course, comes the annual madness … the 60 day Florida legislative session will begin in a couple of weeks, with a 6 billion dollar problem between projected revenues and estimated spending. Which may be part of the reason Republican Governor Charlie Crist is such a big fan of the stimulus package about to be passed largely by Congressional Democrats.
From the St. Pete Times:
Crist predicted Florida’s share of the stimulus would be almost enough to cover next year’s projected budget deficit, unofficially between $5 billion and $6 billion.
“It’s very, very encouraging,” Crist said. “I shudder to think what it would be like if this wasn’t moving forward.”
Which is all good for this year. Next year may be an entirely different story.
I don’t know that anyone knows everything that is in the bill. At $787 billion and over 1500 pages with so little time for analysis, it seems impossible that anyone knows what’s being approved. Maybe even more surprising is that it’s not unusual for massive bills to be approved by congress with little time for analysis. Representatives and Senators regularly depend on their staffs to digest the text of huge spending measures and advise them how to vote. Of course, those aides would understandably agree with the person who signs the checks … but I’m off on a bit of a tangent.
Governor Crist has seemed pretty chummy with President Obama … introducing him at his town hall meeting in Fort Myers earlier this week. And The Miami Herald reports the state GOP is none to pleased.
As Democrats lavish praise on Florida’s Republican governor for enthusiastically supporting their economic stimulus package, Republicans are questioning whether Crist damaged his future.
”I don’t think he’s helped any national Republican ambitions he may have by stepping up to the plate and batting for the other team. . . . There’s a difference between working in a bipartisan way for the common good and switching sides and putting on the other team’s jersey,” said veteran Republican consultant Alex Castellanos. “At the one moment when we’ve finally found our voice and remember who we are as Republicans, Charlie Crist forgets. It’s stunning.”
So it appears at least that Governor Crist MAY, and I’ll emphasize again MAY be hopeful that the stimulus package (and some even say that’s a misnomer) will allow the legislature to delay, or in a best case scenario avoid entirely, making very difficult budget decisions. Whether or not that’s a good idea will be debated at length, I’m sure, and what it means for city governments is certainly unknown. But it will make the upcoming legislative session interesting to watch … and for better or worse, I’ve got time for that.