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Florida has still not applied for the stimulus money for schools. This is because the application form has not yet arrived. According to Governor Charlie Crist, "Florida is ready to do it, we just need to have the formal application so we can fill it out."
Thus far, Governor Charlie Crist is holding out for having African-Americans on the list of nominees from which an appointment is to be made to the 5th District Court of Appeal. Time may have run out on Crist, as former appellate Judge Robert J. Pleus Jr. today, asked the Supreme Court to order the governor to make the appointment, although none of the six nominees is black.
Newly-released figures for February 2009 show that Florida's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 9.4 percent. The unemployment rate is 0.6 percent higher than the January rate of 8.8 percent and is up 4.2 percentage points from the February 2008 rate. The national unemployment rate in February was 8.1 percent.
The Florida Senate may very well put the proposed 1-cent increase in sales taxes to voters, later this year. If approved, the tax is intended to shore up school budgets, which have been slashed owing to declining state revenues. It would mean too that, consumers would pay 7 cents on each $1 purchased, as opposed to the current 6 cents.
Governor Charlie Crist, despite promises that he would run the most open and transparent administration in the history of Florida, will not fully disclose his political travel on private jets owned by special interests. While by law, Crist is not required to share this information, it was expected that he would do so, in view of his continuous calls for greater accountability and transparency in the conduct of government business.
Judge Thomas E. Stringer Sr., who had a sterling career on the Florida bench for over 20 years resigned abruptly, amidst ethics charges. Stringer, 64 years, and the first black law school graduate from Stetson University was facing ethics charges brought by Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission, regarding financial transactions with Christy Yamanaka, a 48-year-old stripper.
Gov. Charlie Crist is preparing for an even worst financial situation in Florida, should this eventuate. On Thursday a 15 percent hold was put on general revenue spending for the last quarter of the current budget year. This means that state agencies would only receive 85 percent of their appropriation from April through June, the last quarter of the current fiscal year.
Governor Crist, at a town hall meeting meeting today at Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville, said that he remains optimistic about the economy. Also, Crist said he is opposed to raising taxes to fund education and infrastructure improvements and that the state could do more with less.
The Florida Legislature, in the midst of a fiscal crisis occasioned by the economic meltdown, is evaluating a proposal to cut the salaries of state workers by 5 percent. Although a decision has not yet been made, already there is outrage in view of the tax cuts that the wealthiest Floridians received over the past 10 years.