From Steve Bousquet: Charlie Crist has already alienated the Republican-controlled Legislature on three fronts, and a fourth emerged Thursday when he said he’s likely to veto dozens of special projects in lawmakers’ districts as part of the $70.4 billion budget.
The growing resentment between Crist and lawmakers began when he vetoed a bill re-creating so-called leadership funds — major fundraising machines under the control of a few legislators. Then, driven by strong public opposition, Crist vetoed a teacher tenure and merit pay bill. In recent days, his call for a special session to consider a constitutional ban on offshore oil drilling has brought ridicule from House Speaker Larry Cretul.
Cretul’s House on Thursday handed the budget to the newly nonpartisan governor and U.S. Senate hopeful, starting a 15-day clock. Crist has the power to eliminate line items from the budget — and he made it clear in a meeting with the St. Petersburg Times editorial board that he will.
“I probably will veto all of those,” Crist said in reference to member-supported projects that surfaced late in the session. Continue reading here.