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Crist gives peek at budget highlights

Gov. Charlie Crist unveiled two of his spending priorities on Monday, and guess what, they were items that he had advocated on the campaign trail. He wants lawmakers in the coming year to spend $21.8 million to implement the so-called "Anti-Murder Act" and $3.7 million to increase cyber crime investigations and prevent Internet crimes against children. "As the people's governor, it is my job to keep Floridians safe,'' said Crist while discussing the spending requests at stops in Jacksonville and Orlando.

Crist's "Anti-Murder Act" is a proposal that would require judges to keep criminals in prison if they violate the terms of their probation. While the proposal is only $21 million for the 2007-08 budget year, the measure is expected to cost in excess of $160 million over the next three years since it  will require housing nearly 1,400 more criminals. Crist had promised last year it would be the "first bill" he would sign if he were elected governor _ but that honor went to the insurance overhaul approved earlier this month by legislators. Crist said the crisis in insurance rates was too important to ignore and that's why he was willing to forgo that campaign promise.

Crist is expected to unveil his complete budget on Friday.