Nixon: no prison closings; school aid questionable

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has ruled out closing a state prison to help close Missouri’s budget gap. But he says more cuts are possible to state jobs, higher education and certain public school programs.

Nixon outlined some of his budget priorities Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. Nixon’s administration has said Missouri is facing a shortfall of between $500 million and $700 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Nixon says he hopes to be able to keep basic aid for K-12 schools at the same level as this year. But he says state money specifically targeted toward school busing is on “the watch list” of things that could be cut, along with funding for public colleges and universities.

Nixon also says he will run for re-election in 2012.

Nixon’s campaign says the Democratic governor has raised about $1 million since the Nov. 2 elections.

Asked Thursday whether he will seek re-election, Nixon told The Associated Press: “Yea.”

Former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt also had been raising money for a potential re-election bid in 2008 before shocking supporters by announcing that he would not run again. Blunt had been careful not to ever definitively say he would run again.

Nixon says he is committed to running for a second four-year term.

He has no official challengers yet, but Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is expected to enter the race.

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