St. Louis Public Radio News
5:20 pm
Fri June 26, 2009

Reactions to Nixon budget cuts

Jefferson City, MO – Reactions to Governor Jay Nixon's budget cuts continue to come in from across Missouri.

Among the cuts announced Thursday was $10 million that would have funded a new highway interchange in Jefferson City.

The purpose of the project: To provide better access to the old state prison site, where a new federal courthouse is being built. Redevelopment plans for the site also include a shopping center and a prison museum, though they're not part of any state budget item.

Randy Allen is President and CEO of the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce.

"Well, obviously we were disappointed...we felt as though it was a long-shot, once it was approved by the legislature," Allen said.

Officials at the Department of Public Safety don't seem to mind that a large project for their agency was whittled down.

A $111 million expenditure for a new statewide radio system for emergency responders was reduced to $87 million.

Public Safety spokesman Mike O'Connell says it's more than enough.

"This is still $5 million more than the baseline...the Department of Public Safety thinks that (amount) is going to provide the resources necessary to implement this radio system that will benefit the public safety partners that we have across the state," O'Connell said.

Also, controversy over a MoDOT-sponsored poll on the state's motorcycle helmet law spurred the governor to cut $33,000 from that agency's budget. It showed a majority of those surveyed support mandatory helmet use.

MoDOT officials won't comment on the governor's line-item veto.