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Crist double-dares Rubio to explain his political committees

Asked about The Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times report on former House Speaker Marco Rubio's political committees, Gov. Charlie Crist told Michael Putney of WPLG Local 10 he wants an "explanation."

"I am disturbed by this,'' he said. "I think it probably creates more questions than it does answers about how these funds were handled and by whom and for what...The candidate himself won't even respond to it. He has a spokesman doing it." 

Crist addressed questions about his use of the state plane on Wednesday to fly from Tallahassee to four different cities to promote legislation; the final stop in Miami was followed by a campaign fundraiser. Crist had previously said that he would not use a taxpayer-funded flight to get to a city where he had both state and political business.

Now he's got a different policy: "We were on state business all day and when I landed in Miami I did the state business. Then after 5 o'clock I'm off the clock, and I'm a free man again."

Crist defended last year's budget which raised the cigarette tax and other fees. "I don't like broadly applied taxes,'' he said, though he raised motor vehicle taxes to shore up the general revenue fund when he signed the budget. " I just think that's the wrong way to go, and that's why I've never supported them and never will. What we need to do in times of difficult budgeting is offer users' fees on some things that people can opt to use or not. It really puts the power in the consumer, in the individual."

On the higher cigarette tax: "I view that as a health care issue more than a taxing issue,'' he said. "Nobody has to do it. If you apply a sales tax increase, that hits everybody. It's the broadly applied taxes I'm opposed to."