Gov. Jay Nixon today released the following statement on a Department of Economic Development recommendation that $1.5 million for the Tour of Missouri bicycle race be cut from the Division of Tourism budget:
"Missouri currently faces tremendous financial challenges, and the state must find ways to reduce spending. Even as my administration continues to tighten its belt, I believe that the 2009 Tour of Missouri should go forward. The race will go on this year, and Missourians deserve to know that state funds for the event are used transparently and accountably. They should know precisely how money for the Tour of Missouri is being spent, and that the event is being run in a way that minimizes the cost to taxpayers.
To ensure transparency and accountability, I asked the Office of Administration to seek a full and fair explanation of all expenditures connected with the Tour of Missouri in 2007 and 2008, and of budgeted expenditures and contracts for 2009. A representative from the Office of Administration met today with representatives of the Department of Economic Development, the Division of Tourism and Tour of Missouri, Inc. Because of assurances from the Division of Tourism and the Tour of Missouri, Inc. that they are now willing to share records regarding spending on previous races and planned spending for this year's race, the Office of Budget and Planning will immediately begin to provide state funds for the 2009 Tour of Missouri."