The Missouri House continued its swift work today on the $23 billion state budget, giving it first-round approval after only a few hours of debate.
But before doing so, lawmakers removed most of the money they had allocated for Governor Jay Nixon’s travel budget.
House budget writers had increased the governor’s travel budget by $500,000, while barring his office from billing other agencies for his flights, except for the Dept. of Public Safety.
But the House turned around and stripped that money from the governor’s office, leaving it only $20,000 for air travel. State Representative Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) chairs the House Budget Committee.
“Over the last couple of years, we were told by the governor’s staff that $20,000 was sufficient for his office," Silvey said. "You’ll see in this budget, after the amendment, there’s still $20,000 in that budget, and if they were being truthful for the last couple of years then they should be just fine.”
Meanwhile, the $500,000 allotment is now slated to help curb the high school dropout rate in St. Louis. That measure was sponsored by State Representative Jamilah Nasheed (D, St. Louis).
“The governor can find other means to travel throughout the state of Missouri," Nasheed said. "But children in the city of St. Louis that have dropped out of the system, they need someone to love them, to care about them, to reach out to them and bring them back into the system.”
No one with the governor’s office has responded yet to requests for a comment.
Meanwhile, the 13 bills making up the state budget for FY 2012 need one more House vote before moving on to the Missouri Senate.