The chairman of the House and Senate budget committees are asking the Highway Patrol to restrict the use of state-owned aircraft as a cost-saving move, in light of state revenue coming in below projections. The two Republicans raise the issue in continued criticism of and response to Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) actions that cut or restrict more than $780-million dollars in the state budget for the fiscal year that begins Tuesday.
They focus on the use of state planes by the governor to travel the state to events including the opening or expansion of new businesses, speaking engagements and the signing or vetoing of legislation.
In a statement Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) says of Nixon, “While he continues to cut services for some of our most needy and education, he flies around in his state-of-art $6 million plane using state money to pay for the expense of pilots, maintenance, fuel, and other associated travel costs.”
He and House Budget committee Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) on Tuesday sent a letter to the Patrol regarding the use of the state aircraft it maintains.
“We budgeted as though our revenues would grow at a certain rate, and that didn’t happen,” said Stream. “Until we can have further budget analysis, we ask the highway patrol to restrict use of all state-owned aircraft unless it is within the core mission and duty of the department to maintain public safety.”
A release from the Senate and House press offices says legislators are asking “certain state departments to look at cutting waste after the governor’s actions” on the budget, but only specifies the request made of the Highway Patrol.