Mo. House leaders target Nixon's travel billing | St. Louis Public Radio

Mo. House leaders target Nixon's travel billing

Jan 18, 2011

Missouri House leaders from both political parties are targeting Governor Jay Nixon's practice of having various state agencies pay for his travel expenses.

House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) and Minority Floor Leader Mike Talboy (D, Kansas City) both say they'll add language to this year's budget bills that would bar the use of state agency money to pay for the governor's trips around, and out of, the state.

Tilley says he's not trying to discourage the governor from "flying around the state," he just believes the Governor's Office should pay for those trips, not other branches of state government.

"When he wants to cut people's budgets and cut people's travel budget (and) maybe decrease the reimbursement for mileage, I think it's more open and transparent to also look and see what he's spending on travel," Tilley told reporters today.

Governor Nixon (D) downplayed the issue when asked about it at a press conference announcing new incentives to keep Ford Motor Company's Kansas City-area plant open.

"I think when we allocated some of the resources of the Department of Economic Development so that (Executive Director David) Kerr could go with me to Dearborn (Michigan) last year to begin this process, it was a darn good investment of tax dollars," Nixon said.

In an interview with Associated Press, Nixon denied that his flight-billing practices lacked transparency, saying that the costs, destinations and passenger lists are public records.