As it's been widely reported Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon is considering a $1.5 million cut to the Tour of Missouri that organizers say could force the cancellation of the September bicycle race.
The Department of Economic Development recommended the cut this week in response to Nixon's request for agencies to identify savings in the state budget. A decision on it will be made in several weeks, Nixon's spokesman Jack Cardetti told The Associated Press.
The News-Leader's Chad Livengood quotes the race organizer calling the "timing terrible."
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder took to the airwaves to urge people to call the Governor and tell him to preserve the race. @savethetour popped up as a TWITTER account.
During the Springfield signing, Livengood asked Nixon if he supported all the state funding that's gone towards the tour. Nixon was non-committal, dodging a inquiry about the future with a brush-off-the-shoulder response to issues decided in the past.
"It's just not something I spend a great deal of my time thinking about," the Governor responded.
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But that seems like an odd answer for someone who carved out most of his initial campaign on a controversial decision (in the past) made by Gov. Matt Blunt (Medicaid cuts). Nixon's rationale for not rendering a public judgement on funding for the Tour is perplexing. He could've said he thought it was a bad decision to pour state money into event in place of other priorities. He could've said he supported the Tour concept but that in difficult economic times, sacrifices are necessary. But the first take of Nixon's answer seems to indicate he's got questions about using taxpayer money for the annual bike race. It seems that in the weeks ahead, Team Kinder's top priority will forcing Nixon's hand -- pushing him to pledge support and/or attempting to punish him politically if the ax falls.