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Crist calls for more budget openness following Sansom indictment

Gov. Charlie Crist says the Ray Sansom indictment raises a valid point about the secrecy of the state budget process and urged lawmakers to "learn from it."

"I think what we ought to do is try to find away to create greater openness in the budgetary process. So that, if what has been written about is accurate, sort of maneuver can’t happen anymore," Crist said, referring to the $6 million the grand jury said Sansom inserted in the budget to benefit a friend's private jet business.

"Isn’t that obvious?" Crist asked. "It seems to me that just because it’s been done that way for a long time, or that’s how things work, doesn’t mean that’s the way it should work. It’s important to strive to find a way to open it up more, to be more inclusive, particularly at this time in the legislative session."

Crist suggested he would have vetoed the project -- dubbed a budget "turkey" by TaxWatch in 2007 because it was added during conference -- had he known more. "Hindsight is always 20/20," he said, adding that greater transparency could prevent things from slipping through in the future.

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