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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Conservative Group Targets Funding for Dali Museum, Tampa Riverwalk, USF St. Petersburg

Florida Tax Watch is urging Gov. Jeb Bush to veto funding for a number of Tampa Bay projects, calling them "turkeys." Among the projects are money to assist in relocating the Salvador Dali Museum to a larger location that is less vulnerable to hurricanes and funding to help build a science and technology building at the University of South Florida's St. Petersburg campus.

Many legislators and local officials derided the group's methodology.

"TaxWatch in my opinion looks at each project without realizing the importance ... in local areas and statewide," said Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey).

Defending the Dali Museum, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker said, "It's a good project for the state as well as the city. It's probably the strongest museum in the Southeast, and it brings in a quarter-million people a year. A lot of those are international tourists. It puts us on the map culturally as a state."

Rep. Trey Traviesa (R-Tampa) was one of the architects of the effort to get funding from Tallahassee for the Riverwalk project - the Tamp Mayor Pam Iorio's effort to revitalize downtown.

"As we position Tampa Bay to be more of a national and global city, those types of investments are important," Traviesa said.

Some of the targeted projects include:

Pinellas County
* $9-million for USF St. Petersburg campus expansion
* Dali Museum relocation
* $2-million for Oldsmar municipal water supply
Hillsborough County
* $1-million for Riverwalk project
* $900,000 for Tampa firefighters museum

Click here for the complete list, sorted by county.

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