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Jeb Bush talks about the stadium deal


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Gov. Jeb Bush told the Watchdog Report Friday at Coral Gables' Biltmore Hotel that Florida's economy is growing so well that the $61.6 billion state budget for 2005-06 he proposed to the Legislature will have billions left in reserves.


''After we fund our priorities, after we cut taxes and after we spend money, we will have $3.5 billion in cash, which probably puts us in a position unlike any state in the country,'' he said.


But he said he would ''absolutely'' continue to strike pork-barrel projects from the final budget he signs, as he has done in the past.


''The reason why we have the surplus, the reason why our bond rating has gone up is because there is fiscal discipline in the state of Florida and our economy is booming,'' he said.


Bush said he was pleased that voters have repealed a constitutional amendment mandating a bullet train, a project he has called a ''boondoggle'' that the state cannot afford.


''The evidence will be if I am wrong [that] there will be a private-sector entity that will come and invest sizable amounts of capital and ask for state support rather than the opposite,'' the governor said. ``It should not have been done in the Constitution and should not be done when there is no risk taken by the private sector.''


Asked about the tentative $420 million deal for a new Florida Marlins baseball stadium next to the Orange Bowl that calls for a $60 million state sales tax rebate over 30 years, the governor said that he was keeping an ``open mind.''


''I supported it last year, just because I think the Marlins are important to our community,'' he said, but added, ``It has to be a good business structure and again the private sector if they are asking for government money, they need to take risks.''


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