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Our Opinion: Nixon again sticks agencies with the tab

Gov. Jay Nixon likes his executive agencies to pick up the tab. Once again, he is insisting on it.

The governor has transferred three employees involved in gubernatorial appointments to the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP). The move frees up money for his own office.

The transfer follows Nixon’s announcement that he has hired a senior policy advisor at an annual $100,000 salary. Coincidence?

This mooch-like maneuver is reminiscent of the governor’s previous practice of billing other departments for his state flights, as well as the salaries of some aides.

That practice ended after lawmakers cried foul — a cry that now resounds anew.

“What we’re seeing year after year is King Jay, who will do everything he can to consolidate as much power and make unilateral decisions as much as possible,” Republican Rep. Ryan Silvey of Kansas City told the Associated Press.

His comments were made Wednesday in connection with a meeting of a special House committee on budget transparency, which he chairs.

Silvey accused the Nixon administration of “hiding” the employees in a blatant violation of new budget provisions to prohibit departments from picking up the governor’s tab.

Nixon’s spokesman Scott Holste disagrees. He defended the transfer as an “appropriate alignment of costs with funding streams” and added: “These staff focus on appointments to boards and commissions, and the DIFP is the agency with the most boards and commissions.”

Most, but not all.

The state manual lists 40 groups under that agency, a fraction of the more than 200 listed on the governor’s website.

We criticized the governor as a flying freeloader when he foisted those costs on other departments. We similarly are displeased by his latest ploy.

Other state departments trying to serve Missourians have enough on their plates without being forced to pick up the governor’s tab.

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