Crist talks about "global climate change' in State of the State by Mitch E. Perry

WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday

Charlie Crist’s State of the State


Florida Governor Charlie Crist delivered his first State of the State address in Tallahassee this morning. 

The freshman Governor began his 30 minute speech by thanking lawmakers for their work in the special session in January, when they addressed the Property Insurance crises that has rocked the state in the past couple of years. 


Although that emergency legislation prevented insurance companies from dumping policies and eliminated a proposed rate hike by Citizens Insurance, it is still frought with peril, especially if Florida gets hit by a major hurricane this summer.


Now Property Taxes are the major issue.  The Governor discussed his plan, which he asked the Legislature to vote  to put on the ballot this fall (roll tape#1 o.q.”this year”)


Crist’s plan is actually modest compared to the House Republican proposal which would eliminate property taxes on owner-occupied homes, increasing the statewide sales tax by 2.5 cents to 8 ½ percent, and rolling back revenues to 2001 levels, with allowances for inflation and growth.

In passing , Crist mentioned ‘civil rights’….but nothing else.  But Crist said as recently as last week that he intends thru his cabinet to reverse Florida’s status as 1 of only 3 states in the country that does not automatically restore civil and voting rights to felons who have served their time.


He spoke positively about the Class Size Amendment – an issue that former Governor Bush fought from ever passing, and then tried to thwart even after it was the law of the land.  Crist said he was increasing funding for smaller classes.  He also said he was putting more money into the budget for more reading coaches.


And he also advocates more money for school teachers (roll tape#2 o.q.”on a test alone”)


Crist proposed money for Florida’s environment, including $100 million dollars for Everglades restoration.


But the most dynamic part of his speech came to discussion global warming, or as the Governor called it, Global climate change (roll tape#3 o.q.”greenhouse gases”)


And Crist said that not only would Florida work on the technology, but the moral leadership to overcome what he called ‘this monumental challenge’.(roll tape#4 o.q.” foreign oil”)


Charlie Crist has changed his image remarkably from the days as a state legislator when he was referred to as “Chaingang Charlie”.  But if the Governor’s rhetoric sounds more progressive than before, his Anti-Murder legislation does not.  Crist said he wants it passed this week (roll tape#5 o.q.”to our children”)

The Democratic response came from 2 legislators.  From the House from St. Petersburg freshman Bill Heller, and from the Senate from longtime  South Florida lawmaker Steven Geller. 


Geller was effusive in giving praise to Crist, saying his ideas are actually Democratic ideas (roll tape#1 o.q.”Jeremy Ring”)


The only note of discord came when discussing stem cell research.  Republicans have sponsored bills that would require the state to spend $20 million a year on stem-cell research, but only on the existing lines available .  Bills sponsored by Democrats would require the state to include embryonic stem cell research. Again, Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller (roll tape#2 o.q.”very important issue”)


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