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Crist zaps hurricane-hardening cash

Gov. Charlie Crist has put no money in the budget for the one program just about everybody says will help cure Florida's insurance ills: My Safe Florida Home.

But Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink suggested today that should change, though she only grinned at a query whether Crist's proposal is short-sighted.

"I think we're now stepping back and thinking about new possibilities to enable the state to continue this program. ... We're going to go back to see if we can find or figure out a way to have more funding," Sink said at an event with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in Tallahassee.

The program, a legacy of Gov. Jeb Bush, was proposed after Hurricane Wilma in 2005 ripped apart Southwest and Southeast Florida, exposing the structural weakness of homes and businesses.

"We're the leader in building a culture of mitigation," Sink said.

It has provided hundreds of thousands of home inspections. Residents can apply for grants to strengthen their homes. As the risk of damage drops, premiums can go down, too.

Sink's comments came as Nelson promoted his latest stab at creating a federal fund to pool money to cover the costs form disasters. The same bill would provide Florida a line of credit to cover the multi-billion dollar shortfall in the cat fund, Nelson said.