Crist Preaches Fiscal Discipline in Speech before The Ripon Society

Also declares that lack of civility in politics is “eroding the fabric of our country”

WASHINGTON, DC – Pointing to the fact that “families all across America are doing more with less,” Florida Governor Charlie Crist stated today that it was time for the federal government to follow suit and live within its means.

Crist made this statement in a luncheon speech before The Ripon Society.  In his remarks, Crist touted his record of fiscal discipline as Florida’s Governor, noting that while some states dealt with the tough economy and lower revenues by raising taxes, his administration dealt with these challenges by reducing government spending by more than 10 percent.

“We felt like we owed that to the people,” Crist stated, “because they put so much of their hard-earned dollars into our treasury, and we wanted to make sure their dollars were spent well.  So we continued to fund education properly and take care of the most vulnerable in our state.  And we found out a miracle – we were able to do it with less.

“I think that’s what people in this town need to be reminded of – that families all across America are doing more with less.  And government can do the same thing, if you just have the discipline to carry it out.”

In addition to reducing spending, Crist noted that he also signed into law the largest tax cut in Florida history.

Moving to a different topic, Crist also discussed the need for greater civility in American politics, citing as an example a statement Ronald Reagan once made while President: “If you agree with me 80 percent of the time, you’re probably my friend.”

“[Reagan] was right,” Crist stated.  “It’s true.  He was the guy who also understood that while he was President of the United States, that when he was in the White House and Tip O’Neill was Speaker of the House, they didn’t agree on much.  But they were civil to each other.  It made you proud to see these people act like mature adults.  We need to get that back.  We really do.”

Crist contrasted Reagan’s approach 25 years ago with what Americans see on television today.

“When people watch cable TV and they see Americans fighting with each other all day long, it’s eroding the fabric of our country.  It’s good not to agree, and it’s good to have debate.  But when you do it all day long, 24/7, in an endless news cycle, that’s not good for America in my humble opinion.

“I wasn’t raised that way.  That’s why, when the President came to my state, I greeted him.  Because my father, Charlie Crist, Sr., and my mother, Nancy, raised me and my three sisters to try to be decent to others – even if you don’t agree with them.  And I’ve been castigated for it in my campaign.  That’s appalling.  That’s not right.  That’s political propaganda.  That’s not what America stands for.  Look, I don’t agree with President Obama.  But he is President of the United States of America, duly elected by the people.  So I’m going to be decent to him.”

Crist concluded his remarks by discussing the health care bill approved last night by the House of Representatives.  He noted that four million Floridians did not have health insurance when he took office.  To address this problem, he created the Cover Florida Health Plan, which, he said, not only resulted in lower premiums for state residents, but also provided coverage without a new mandate from government or an increase in taxes.

Governor Crist’s remarks to The Ripon Society today can be viewed at the links below:

Part I

Remarks on civil discipline

Part II

Part III

Remarks on civility and health care


The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 — Ripon, Wisconsin.  One of the main goals of the Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s past success.  These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.