Concerned about the possibility of a veto of $31.2 million for a new Ellis Fischel cancer facility in Columbia, State Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) is asking Governor Jay Nixon to consider an alternative proposal for keeping the money in the budget.
Members of the Governor’s staff have been looking over the budget for the 2010 fiscal year and have made no secret of the fact the state is experiencing tough times. Schaefer agrees times are tough, but he has sent the Governor a letter asking that at least some thought be given to a proposal that would borrow funding from other projects – the interoperability radio system which would allow different cities and counties to communicate with one another, and battery plants in Joplin and Jackson County.
"I think we need to spend $111 million on interoperability but we can do that by simply committing 92 million this coming year to it – that would give us 19 million," said Schaefer in an interview with the Missourinet. "And then we’ve got the two battery plants that are getting 25 million apiece. We could take 6 million from each one of those battery plants – for an additional 12 million – that gives us $31-million right there."
Schaefer says using money from these other projects will not jeopardize those efforts because funding can be added to the interoperability system next year and in future years while the battery plants benefit from federal subsidies.
"Everything that I see indicates that if we do that it will not jeopardize the interoperability project or the battery plants," said Schaefer. "But if we don’t do it we are going to lose a $200 million construction project."
Schaefer considers it a $200 million project, saying the $31.2 million from federal stabilization funds is merely the anchor to a much larger project.