Members of the Missouri Press Association, representing news organizations from throughout the state, gather in Jefferson City to hear each of the three majorcandidates for Governor tell why he or she wants to be elected in November. Governor Bob Holden is talking up the same message he’s been trying to hammer home since the budget crunch hit: Tax increases are needed to raise revenues. He says he’s put forth a plan to address the problem and the Legislature is continuing to dance around the reality of the situation. State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who’s challenging Holden for the Democratic Party nomination, wants a full assessment of the situationbefore talking taxes. As for relations with the Legislature, she thinks the Governor has dropped the ball by sending his solution to lawmakers, being rejected, and then sending legislators the same proposal they have already turned down. She adds it doesn’t help the situation when the Governor resorts to name calling in the process. Secretary of State Matt Blunt, the Republican contender, won’t go so far as to pledge there’ll be no tax hikes, but says he has always opposed increasing the tax burden. Blunt has also proposed saving taxpayer dollars by conducting a thorough review of all state programs, cutting those that are failing. In addition, Blunt also wants to save taxpayers’ dollars by consolidating the executive department’s information technology functions.
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