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Washington Matters

Is Charlie Crist a Liar?

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who announced this week that he'll run for the Senate next year, seems to have gotten himself into a bit of a fix. Yesterday he signed the no-new-tax pledge pushed on candidates by Americans for Tax Reform. By signing it, candidates "bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases."

The problem for Crist is that, according to state Budget Chairman J. D. Alexander, Crist earlier promised the Florida legislature, which is controlled by Republicans, that he wouldn't veto the $2.2 billion in tax increases contained in the budget that lawmakers just passed. Like many other states, Florida is in desperate need of revenue to meet its obligation to balance the budget.  

Crist has until Wednesday to decide which pledge he'll break. Either way, someone is sure to call him a liar. One possible option is to allow the budget to become law without his signature, but his opponent in the GOP primary, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, is sure to cry foul. Presumably Crist thought this through before signing the pledge, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.