Gov. Crist to Tap Reserves for Part of Budget Deficit

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Governor Charlie Crist says he plans to
tap reserves to cover part of a predicted $1.47 billion state budget deficit, but not the entire shortfall.

State economists Friday issued a new forecast that reduced their revenue estimate for the current budget year by $1.8 billion. The deficit, though, is less because $326 million in unspent money from the last fiscal year has been carried over.

A new state law passed this year permits Crist and lawmakers to tap about $600 million from a budget reserve fund and up to $1 billion from the Lawton Chiles Endowment, which invests money from the state's settlement with the tobacco industry for future use on health and children's programs.

Crist says he will use the law's authority to make recommendations to a special legislative panel that has the final say on how much of the deficit to make up from those two sources.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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