Crist withholds funds for Panhandle

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.