House panel to Crist budget chief: Get real. Soon.by Dara Kam | February 2nd, 2010
A bipartisan House panel rejected Gov. Charlie Crist’s budget proposals, telling his budget chief the governor’s plan was as sketchy as building a household budget on winning the Lottery.
“There’s nothing here that I can use,” House health care budget chief Denise Grimsley, R-Lake Placid, told Jerry McDaniel, Crist’s budget guru.
Democrats and Republicans alike peppered McDaniel about the assumptions built into Crist’s $69.2 billion budget, including $1.1 billion in Medicaid funding that Congress has not yet approved, $443 million for education spending in a gambling compact that the legislature last year rejected, $300 million in local property taxes that 24 counties have not yet levied, and the absence of $350 million to comply with constitutional class size requirements based on a measure that has not even gone on the ballot yet.
“The validity of any decision-making process is always based on the assumptions you make,” said Rep. Rich Glorioso, R-Plant City, chairman of the House transportation committee.
Crist’s assumptions are too iffy, Glorioso said.
“I can’t live with that. If I was doing this budget for myself with these assumptions I would be making a vast mistake. We need a better product soon. What if these things don’t come in? You always plan on a worst scenario…It’s always easier to add back into a budget than it is to come back six months out and do another cut. I’d like to see another proposal without all these basic assumptions in here,” he said.
McDaniel said the governor might offer a revised budget a week or two before the end of session if there was no chance a compact was going to pass. But that didn’t placate House budget chief David Rivera.
“I will tell you that as far as this committee is concerned, we need a budget. We have to work on a budget. I’m disappointed that we can’t start on that budget process together because our assumptions are so far apart,” Rivera, R-Miami, told McDaniel. “I hope that we will have other recommendations before the end of session thinking that it’s always better late than never. But this committee in the House of Representatives doesn’t have the luxury of waiting.”