BP Disaster

Crist withholds funds for Panhandle

May 27, 2010

Gov. Charlie Crist will be on Pensacola Beach tomorrow for an appearance on Fox & Friends around 7:15 a.m. Shortly after that national TV appearance, Crist will announce that none of the $25 million that BP is giving the state for tourism will come to Escambia County… unless the county matches the state grant.

He will try to word it sweetly, but that is the heart of his message. Crist knows that Escambia County has limited TDC reserves. By requiring the match, he is almost guaranteeing all the BP funds will go to the counties with Disney, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens….counties that have yet to be impacted.

It may be a smart political move by Crist to raise money and support from the I-4 corridor, but he will be killing the businesses on the very beach he will be standing tomorrow.

Political insiders tell me that Crist, who is running for U.S. Senate, is requiring the match over the objections of Attorney General Bill McCollum and CFO Alex Sink. Both McCollom and Sink, who are facing off in the November election to be the next governor, wanted all the BP funds to go to Florida Panhandle counties.

Marco Rubio, who will be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, has already said that the entire $25 million should be spent in Northwest Florida.

BP pledged the funds ten days ago. Crist has held up releasing any funds. If Crist goes through with this political ploy, he will not be elected to the U.S. Senate.

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  • Dixie Thompson May 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    What a kick in the teeth for one of the poorest counties in the state. If you can’t match it, you don’t need it? The rich get richer and the poor get nothing. But then maybe he thinks that since we have traditionally allowed vast quantities of legally permitted discharges of toxic wastes via deep well injection and into our local waterways, we won’t notice anything unusual or care about the biggest environmental disaster in the history of America…

  • KARENSindel May 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Now I know why the BP reps kept referring to the $25 million as a “grant” over a week ago at the town hall meeting in Perdido. Any response from BOCC or City Hall regarding the need for matching funds?

  • Brice Harris May 28, 2010 at 10:55 am

    George must be Chuckie’s new campaign manager…

  • LL LAIRD May 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

    CFO Sink/Congressman Meek would never aloud this kick in the butt too the Panhandle: Do hope in November, when Palin Tar balls cover our beach,beach hotels empty, local unemployment hit’s 12%,voters will vote for Sink and Meek whom will be on the peoples side, NOT in the pocket $$$ of BP,and NOT those whom want to take back our government and give it to Palin/Cheney/Bush..Conman Rubio & suntan Charlie…

  • George Hanley May 28, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Like the beaches in Escambia Cty. are the only ones. Look, Teabaggers for Rubio, when the gusher product comes ashore along Florida’s coast, it won’t just be Pensacola.
    Suck it up Panhandlers (rightly named), there’s no whining in politics.

  • Ashley May 28, 2010 at 9:25 am

    The politics of an election year is just plain ugly and absurd. I can’t believe he is going to get away with this, well, actually I can unfortunately. If he thought he had issues in the panhandle before with low voter backing, he just put that notion on steriods with this ridiculous imposition.

  • Brice Harris May 28, 2010 at 8:18 am


  • JC Holzer May 28, 2010 at 6:58 am

    Maybe he is single-handedly stopping all the funds, so that later he can then single-handedly release all the funds and play the role of savior.

  • JC Holzer May 28, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Can you say no brainer – this money needs to come to the panhandle RIGHT NOW. Match? WTH is he talking about? Tourists are not canceling their trips to Tampa or J’Ville are they? If the oil gets in the loop and affects the keys, etc then more money will come from BP and that can go to the affected areas. This is ludicrous!!!