Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Crist tips his hand
The governor reveals who he thinks should feel the pain as the state slashes its budget.
By JENNIFER LIBERTO and SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writers
Published September 7, 2007
TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Charlie Crist wants to protect K-12 education, the medically needy and prisons by cutting higher education and juvenile justice and raiding trust funds, according to a list of unconventional budget recommendations released Thursday.
The $1-billion savings plan seeks to plug a hole in the state budget caused by a revenue shortfall due to bad real estate market.
The Legislature had planned to meet Sept. 18 to address the budget reduction, but canceled the session Wednesday because the chambers and the governor couldn't agree on how to do it.
Crist made his vision clear Thursday.
"We want to preserve the funding in education to the classroom, we want to make sure the most vulnerable among us are protected while we reduce and tighten our belt. And we also want to make sure public safety is always paramount and well funded," Crist said.
Crist's budget-cutting philosophy is more in line with the Florida House, whose leaders have professed an interest in targeted cuts, than with the Senate, whose leaders back equal and across-the-board cuts.
Yet, by raiding trust funds, Crist is inviting a fight with the Senate, which historically has been very protective of those single-purpose accounts. Senators say that trust-fund reductions don't attack the state's big budget problem: a lack of revenue from general-purpose taxes.
"I have great respect for the governor, but philosophically I just believe that's the wrong approach," said Sen. Mike Fasano, a New Port Richey Republican, who as chairman of the transportation committee is upset by Crist's effort to siphon $225-million from a roads fund.
Crist has vowed to hold education "harmless" during the budget-cutting, and his proposal largely spares K-12 schools. Universities and community colleges aren't so lucky. Those schools would see their budgets fall by more than $300-million.
Higher education leaders were appalled. "It seems we have a governor who wants to protect K-12, but is willing to throw higher education under the bus," said chancellor Mark Rosenberg of the state university system.
In trying to protect K-12 coffers, Crist also banks on continuing problems for the state's struggling prekindergarten program. Enrollment hasn't been nearly what education officials hoped, and Crist wants to cut $28-million to "realign" the program with "current enrollment trends." That way, he notes, the Department of Education can use the savings to "preserve other critical education programs."
And in what could become quite a fight on the Senate and House floors, Crist recommends delaying $10.2-million in first-year money that the University of Central Florida and Florida International University are depending on to start their recently approved medical schools.
Crist said that "by delaying the implementation of these new programs, funding for established, core program instruction can be preserved."
Crist ignored suggestions by the Department of Corrections that would have released some prisoners early into work camps or probation programs. In fact, Crist left prison spending mostly untouched, proposing cuts to less than 1 percent of the budget, instead suggestingcounties pay for a $4.6-million state-funded pre-trial intervention program. That decision could prove controversial at a time when state government is forcing cities and counties to slash billions in property taxes.
Compared with adult prisons, Crist suggests larger overall percentage cut for Department of Juvenile Justice programs, some $33-million (5 pecent), including a program that was going to replace the state's boot camps for young offenders.
Crist proposes $376-million cuts in health and human services. But he twould protect programs for the disabled, largely by cutting Medicaid reimbursement dollars to hospitals and other medical facilities.
The governor also suggested cutting about $47-million in administrative costs from the Department of Children and Families without reducing child welfare, mental health or substance abuse programs.
"Clients, at this point in time, would not be affected," DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth said.
Florida needs to revive its economy by building, Crist maintains. He encouraged lawmakers to dole out earlier than usual $315-million for school districts, community colleges and universities to build facilities.
Lawmakers usually disperse construction dollars during the regular session, but "appropriating these funds now could substantially increase the vitality of this state while not increasing the tax burden on this state," Crist wrote to education leaders.
Crist also wants the Legislature to put $50-million toward down-payment assistance and reduced mortgage interest rates for lower income, first-time home buyers. What's more, he wants lawmakers to give $25-million to local governments that assist low and moderate families looking to buy a home.
The proposal would give qualified home buyers $10,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance and offer financing through the Florida Housing Finance Corp. at a quarter point less than the market.
Crist suggested moving to general revenue some $44-million in sales tax revenue that would normally go into a trust to restore beaches, $5-million for attacking water pollution from storm-water run-off and finding alternative water supplies.
"We're in the middle of the drought and alternative water supplies is one of those solutions to droughts," said Eric Draper of Audubon of Florida.
Times staff writers Alex Leary and Steve Bousquet contributed to this report.
Crist's proposed local cuts
- $10-million from the Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer's Center and Research Institute.
- $3-million less for USF's graduate student programs.
- $500,000 less for the Moffitt Cancer Center.
- $500,000 less for a community instructional center at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon.
On the Web
Get the latest news in Florida politics at blogs.tampabay.com/buzz