Sunday, June 28, 2009

Week 24: Nixon's Grade


After Gov. Jay Nixon announced $430 million dollars in cuts and restrictions from the 2010 state budget, the Missouri Republican Party accused him of "mismanagement." But it appears that Nixon was able to swing his ax without the tree falling back on him. Vetoes are never pleasant. They are a test of priorities. But while there was the expected disappointment and grumbling, Nixon seemed to dodge major fallout from his decisions. When Nixon cut $4.5 million for a business incubator in Southeast Missouri, the dean of the business school told the Southeast Missourian, "it's disappointing, and we understand the situation." When Nixon sliced $10 million for a highway interchange in Jefferson City, the local Chamber of Commerce didn't seem surprised, calling the project "a long-shot." KBIA even quoted a sympathetic Sen. Gary Nodler, explaining that cuts were needed due to deteriorating revenues. Heck, he even shrunk government, firing 200 more employees (isn't that conservative?). And the Governor even flexed some muscle by vetoing MoDOT money in retaliation for taxpayer financed poll the agency used to show support for the motorcycle helmet law. It's not that the cuts aren't without local consequences, it's that most people seem to be giving Nixon a pass. The economy is rough, so the state has to tighten its belt. Even the Governor talked about rolling the dice and praying "our budget turns around." But he quickly added, "Frankly, that is the exact type of thinking that has landed so many other states in the dire straits they find themselves in today." Oh, and one more thing: Nixon made his cuts the day Michael Jackson died. As a media savvy friend of mine concluded, "Most regular people won't know about it, and the rest will forget."

No comments: