Governor Nixon says the Tour of Missouri will go on this year.
Nixon has rejected a recommendation from the Department of Economic Development to slash the $1.5 million state appropriation needed to fund the professional bicycle race. Supporters of the tour say that the race would have had to be cancelled without the state money. The Tour of Missouri is in the third year of a three-year contract.
In a written statement, Nixon acknowledged that state government must reduce spending, but that he believes the 2009 Tour of Missouri should go forward. Nixon did call for additional accountability and transparency on how state funds are spent.
Nixon has ordered the Office of Administration to seek complete accounting of how money was spent on the tour in 2007 and 2008. He wants a review of contracts for this year. According to the governor’s office, a representative from the Office of Administration has met with representatives of the Department of Economic Development, the Division of Tourism and Tour of Missouri, Inc. The governor’s office says the Division of Tourism and Tour of Missouri has agreed to share financial information and budgets with the office.
A spokesman for Nixon, Scott Holste, says the governor’s office received plenty of feedback from the public when it became news that state funding could be withheld.
"Well, on Friday of last week and on Monday and Tuesday of this week we did receive a fairly large volume of e-mails and telephone calls from people who were concerned about the race going on," Holste says.
An emergency conference call was held Friday by the Division of Tourism in an effort to save the race.