Economist says oil spill could cost Florida 39,000 jobs

Back on May 3, Sink  said,

"We must treat this like a Category 5 hurricane -- preparing our coastlines for the worst economic and environmental disaster imaginable and quickly ensuring that our businesses and citizens can get the help they will need,....  “. The impact on state and local governments will be enormous, at a time when we can least afford it— which is why I am pushing BP and the federal government for cash to help our state and coastal businesses weather this disaster.”

Also yesterday Governor Crist was in St. Petersburg, where he said he wants to call a special session to deal with banning drilling off state waters in Florida, an idea promulgated over a month ago by legislators Rick Kriseman and Keith Fitzgerald.  However, Crist called off having a special session last month when he said he didn't have the votes in the state house to pass the measure.

There's no real indication that that equation has changed, but the whimsical governor's attitude has - again, in now calling for such a session, possibly in July.

Crist isn't the only one flip-flopping on holding a special session.  Accompanying the governor  yesterday in St. Pete was Key West House Democratic leader Ron Saunders, who said he also supported a special session.  But as the Miami Herald reported,  Saunders last month said such a session wasn't needed.

University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith is predicting that an early analysis of the Gulf oil disaster could cost the state $2.2 billion, and over 39,000 lost jobs.

The News Service of Florida reports:

Snaith also said about 39,000 jobs could be eliminated in coming weeks, as the leisure, hospitality and fishing industries retrench in the face of a decline in visitors. Florida's 12 percent unemployment rate already tops the national average.

"This is a punch that lands in Florida even while we're still on wobbly legs," Snaith said.

Meanwhile, yesterday Governor Charlie Crist took up Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's suggestion from over a month ago and activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide a cash flow to businesses that have been deleteriously affected by the problems in the Gulf.

Short-term loans of up to $25,000 will be given out to those affected by the spill in 26 Florida counties, including Pinellas, Hillsborough and Sarasota.

“Though BP may be the responsible party, we will continue to help ourselves by being proactive in supporting Florida businesses and families,” said Governor Crist. “Providing a much-needed source of financial relief to our businesses will help secure Florida’s future economy.”

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