It was a week ago when veteran St.Pete Times investigative reporter Lucy Morgan blew minds with her exclusive on the $48 million 1st District Court of Appeals "Taj Mahal"courthouse being constructed in Tallahassee at the same time that "budgets slashed, courts across Florida have laid off staff, quit buying law books and curtailed building maintenance" has been going on.
The story has become the symbol of an out of touch state government that rivals some of the examples of egregious federal spending that has happened, well, forever.
Former Tallahassee Democratic representative Loranne Ausley, now running for the Democratic nomination for Chief Financial Officer, is using the "Taj Mahal" as a campaign issues against her Republican rival, Senate President Jeff Atwater.
This morning in the state capitol, Ausley and some law enforcement officers will hold a press conference to, well in the words of her press release, "blast Senate President Jeff Atwater for his role in forcing the Department of Corrections to cut 71 Prison Works Squads."
Ausley says in the release that those public work squad programs used by cities counties and non profits for construction, recycling and ground maintenance saved taxpayers over $35 million.
Ausley says that money is now being spent on the Blackwater River Correction institution, which Ausley lambastes as Atwater's "Prison to Nowhere." The facility was built by GEO Group with public financing.
The Ausley-Atwater race to replace Alex Sink won't take place until November, so what with all of the primary madness it won't get much coverage for awhile, but it's interesting to see how Ausley, a relatively late entrant into the contest, to going after her GOP rival.