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Crist tells CNBC Florida population decline “not that big a deal”

by Dara Kam | September 3rd, 2009

Gov. Charlie Crist performed as the Sunshine State’s chief pitch-man, blowing off Florida’s historic population loss and touting the fine weather in a CNBC interview this morning.

Florida saw a drop of 58,000 residents last year, the first population decrease since military residents left the state after World War II.

“It’s not that big a deal, to be honest with you,” Crist shrugged off the decline on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” show today.

The governor then launched into a Sunshine State sales pitch, touting declines in property taxes and property insurance rates and the weather.

“And it’s Florida. It’s a beautiful place. It’s a gorgeous day today down here in South Florida. You just can’t beat the Sunshine State,” said Crist, who is in Miami. Florida I really think is on the rise and it’s a great deal for an awful lot of people, too.”



Although Florida’s unemployment rate is nearly 11 percent, Crist was upbeat about the job market and pointed to Palm Beach County as a shining example.

Palm Beach County’s unemployment rate was 11.7 percent in July, one percentage point above the state average.

“Even in the Palm Beach County area where Scripps and Torrey Pines and some of these other scientific institutes have located, Max Planck…it’s been great for that area of the state,” Crist said. “We’re very pleased with the direction things are going. We wish they were better, don’t misunderstand me. But we’re not sitting still. We’re on the move. And I continue to be optimistic and encouraged about where we’re going.”

Crist, who drew the wrath of fellow Republicans by urging Congress to pass President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, reversed that position on the health care reforms now being considered in Washington.

“I want them to say no. I’m concerned about what’s happening with health care in Washington and I think many Americans are. And I think justifiably so.
One of the greatest concerns, in addition to the tremendous expense and burden it would add to families’ pocketbooks throughout Florida and the country, is the fact that they’re not sure exactly what’s in this thing,” Crist said.

Crist offered some more advice to his comrades in Washington whom he hopes to join next year in the U.S. Senate.

“Americans don’t like to have anything thrust down their throat. That’s a real legitimate concern. When that happens you need to pause, take a breath, go slow, and do what’s right, not what’s wrong,” he counseled.

Crist is running against former House Speaker Marco Rubio in a GOP primary to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who resigned earlier this summer. Last week, Crist appointed George LeMieux, who has been Crist’s closest political advisor for the past five years, to the post.

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14 Responses to “Crist tells CNBC Florida population decline “not that big a deal””

  1. Sick of RINOs Says:

    Just another reason to vote for Rubio!

  2. Z Says:

    Since he’s not going to be representing the whole state of Florida as governor anymore if he makes it to the Senate, he does not have to worry about tarnishing his image among the populace here in Florida. Yes he can say that this state is a great place, but the truth of the matter is that people are leaving Florida because we are in a decline. High unemployment rate, property values leaving homeowners underwater, high taxes, etc. The list could go on. Some advice for you Charlie for next time you decide to do an interview, TELL IT AS IT IS!!

  3. elvira Says:

    I left Florida in July this year after spending three years in the Sunshine State. I purchased a home in Florida which I am in the process of selling….my husband lost his job…I could not find any job….I always wanted to live in Florida but after I got there I realized its not what they say. The weather may be beautiful, but if you need to earn money, go elsewhere.

  4. LayingLow Says:

    Sure, Charlie’s got to say losing population is no big deal..otherwise, he would have to share in the responsibility of the decline of this great state. While our government faces tough problems on every front over the past few years..look at the things they have worked on and passed. Such great legislation as mandating that public schools can’t start classes more than 14 days before Labor Day…done at the behest of Disney and other giant tourism operators. Certainly, they have more important things to worry about. The sooner Charlie is in Washington and lining his pockets like all the rest of them do up there—the better for Florida.

  5. RAM9678 Says:

    The writing is on the wall. Its more expensive to live in Florida than it is in Virginia; no longer a retirement haven. Not only are Floridians leaving, but there is also a drop in migration to Florida. Why?: taxes, fees on just about everything you do or buy. Not having personal income tax is a bogus benefit; add up all the other taxes and you are better off paying personal income tax in exchange.

  6. sane citizen Says:

    If it is people from New York and New Jersey leaving, then that can only be a good thing!

  7. Bill Newton - Florida Consumer Action Network Says:

    The shrinking population will cause some problems. We are already being billed for power plants that now may never be needed. Tax revenue will decline further and services will deteriorate. Unemployment will prove hard to fix. We may finally have to look at making Florida a sustainable place to live.

  8. mary Says:

    People leaving not a big deal??? It has to mean something that people just don’t want to be here anymore.

    The state, county and cities governments are crooked and stealing our tax dollars then raising those taxes and fees to replace the funds stolen so much so people can no longer afford to live in this state.

    Our children can’t get a good education with the poorly managed education system and underpayment and mis-treatment of our teachers while administation sits around like fat rats.

    We have more non-english speaking people than english speaking people.

    We have a governor who seems to no longer be representing the whole state of Florida but the indians.

    Mr.Crist this should be a big deal and you should pay some mind to it.

  9. steve layman Says:

    glad when our self hating gay gov goes on jis merry way and leaves this state alone. he and his fellow republicans have run this state into the ground !

  10. TheMan Says:

    Hey as long as when people leave we cut spending, I’m ok

  11. NYer Says:

    Crist has no shot at the senate seat in 2010. Republicans never really liked him because of his moderate (sometimes left of center)policies — his disdain for home insurance companies after Hurricane Wilma; supporting the stimulus package; opposed to off-shore drilling…

    Now Crist is turning off independents and the democrats who were thrilled with him not being Jeb Bush — opposing health care reform despite his background of advocating against insurance companies; bending over backwards for the GOP who has already made it clear they’re supporting Rubio for the primaries; shifting into congressional-campaign mode full time, forgetting he has a state to run; taxes going up despite his word they wouldn’t; and on and on.

  12. » Blog Archive » Rubio targets Crist’s handling of Florida economy in new web ad Says:

    [...] U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio pilloried GOP primary opponent Gov. Charlie Crist’s recent interview on CNBC in which Crist said that nearly 60,000 Floridians leaving the state – the first population decline in more than three decades – is “not that big a deal.” [...]

  13. Extras: Palin, Rubio, Apps and Chain E-mails | Extreme Conservatives Says:

    [...] truth, however, the governor was responding to a specific question about the state’s population decrease, and not unemployment or foreclosure rates, as Rubio’s ad falsely [...]

  14. mweity Says:

    Why is it no one talks about insurance rates? We have 3 types of insurance on our home totaling over $6k a year. In NC or VA you only pay around $1k a year. Very expensive to live in FL.

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