Sarasota lawmaker balks at proposed budget cuts
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09/07/07 Mitch E. Perry
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To trim the state budget, Governor Charlie Crist has proposed dipping into tax money typically earmarked for environmental and drinking water programs. Crist said the 7 percent of real estate transaction tax money that usually goes to those programs can be shifted to other needs, as can 44 million dollars from another water project trust fund. That was among several ideas Crist released this week for how the state can save money as it tries to deal with a budget shortfall.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune also is reporting that the Governor has proposed cutting about 2 million dollars of state funding for red tide research

News of the governor’s intentions displeases Sarasota Democratic House Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, whose district includes Mote Marine

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Officials at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota say that if the cuts go through, they and scientists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute will have to revamp research plans.

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The research funding was intended to monitor toxic blooms in area waters and try experimental efforts to control the red tide outbreaks.

Red tide is caused by a bloom of the single-celled alga Karenia brevis, which contains a powerful toxin that kills fish and other marine life as well as causing respiratory problems in some people.

Crist announced yesterday that he wants to protect K-12 education, the medically needy and prisons by cutting higher education and juvenile justice.

Fitzgerald says he has mixed feelings about the governor's proposals, but is pleased that Crist has at least listed his priorities.

Fitzgerald would like to see Senate and House leaders follow suit.

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