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Nixon: Public offers 550 ways to spend the stimulus

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 24, 2009 - Singer Paul Simon penned a hit song, and made a fortune, by detailing the 50 ways to leave one's lover.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is hoping the state can benefit even more by checking out Missourians' 550 ways to spend the stimulus. Missouri's portion is expected to be around $4 billion, although a goodly chunk is earmarked for certain programs or specific types of spending.

As of 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, his staff says, "less than 24 hours after launching Transform.mo.gov, individual Missourians, businesses, organizations and local governments had submitted more than 440 ideas and proposals to create jobs and transform the Show-Me State’s economy."

As of 1:30 p.m., the count was close to 550.

Said the governor in a statement: "I’m thrilled to see so many Missourians participating in this process...about how we can train our workforce, enhance our information and transportation infrastructure and embrace emerging technologies to create the jobs of tomorrow. I look forward to reviewing all these suggestions with my Transform Missouri team, and I encourage Missourians to keep their ideas coming at such a steady clip.”

On the Web site, the public, businesses, groups or local governments can make a general suggestion -- or go into great detail with specifics.

In any case, we trust that the ideas are a bit more constructive than Simon's "slip out the back, Jack. Make a new plan, Stan..."

Maybe the new tune will be "Here's what we say, Jay...."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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