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Senate is tapping into Chiles endowment

Following the lead of Gov. Charlie Crist, the initial health care budget of the Florida Senate calls for tapping into the Lawton Chiles Endowment, the $2 billion reserve account that was set up in 1999 with proceeds from the landmark settlement between the state and the nation's tobacco companies.

But while Crist used $400 million from the endowment as an effort to shield his health care budget from large-scale cuts, the Senate instead is relying on $159 million to help pay for some construction projects and keep intact a couple of Medicaid programs until Nov. 1, when the programs will then be cut.