Today, Governor Eric Greitens vetoed a bill that would have asked Missouri taxpayers to pay for a new building for dancers and art students in Kansas City. The bill passed the Missouri Senate 28-4 and passed the House 117-39.
In a statement first posted to his Facebook page, the Governor said:
“Politicians are addicted to spending your money.
This year, they passed a bill that would put taxpayers on the hook for over $75 million to build and run a conservatory for dancers and art students. I'm vetoing the bill, and I'm ready to fight them on this.
They had no plan for who would pay the bills—about $55 million in state debt and interest and $20 million in operating costs. Worse, this spending was hidden in the budget at $1 because politicians were “borrowing” the money. That’s like saying something is “free,” because it's on a credit card. You know who would have to pay that bill? You. Missouri families. I think that's wrong.
I'm a conservative outsider. And I told you that I'd act as a budget hawk and protect your money. And that's what we're doing. We've told leaders across government to do more with less tax money, and to get better results.
Here's the really good news: I have urged the leaders of Missouri's universities to think and act different, to prioritize, and to make tough decisions to take Missouri in a new direction. And they are taking a stand. Today, the President and the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri System announced that they don't want any additional taxpayer money to pay for a conservatory. Instead, they’ve committed to develop a detailed plan to pay for it by making tough budget decisions and using private funds along with strong leaders in the Kansas City community. That’s how it should be.
I think a lot of the good people in Jefferson City agree with me. In the rush of the legislative session, some were not aware of the potential hidden costs of this project. Still, you’ll hear a few politicians threaten to override my veto. That’s their decision to make. I am proud to veto this bill, and glad that we have university and community leaders who are working to take Missouri in a new direction. With my veto today, we are changing the way business is done in Missouri.”