Our Opinion: Ground governor's flight policy
Thursday, January 20, 2011
We urge lawmakers to pursue efforts to bring Gov. Jay Nixon’s flight plans down to Earth.
The governor’s policy of billing various state agencies for all or part of his air travel has been well-documented. This policy has continued while Nixon has ordered other state officials to temper their own travel.
Earlier this week, House leaders announced a bipartisan effort to ground this unfair practice. House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, and Minority Leader Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, intend to prohibit state departments from paying for gubernatorial travel.
Nixon points out department officials sometimes accompany him on trips related to their agencies, and he defends his policy as both appropriate and efficient.
More reasonable is the counter-argument advanced by Assistant House Minority Leader Tishaura Jones, D-St. Louis. She contends, correctly, that if Nixon’s logic is followed, department officials also could bill the governor each time they travel to one of his news conferences.
We appreciate the desire of the governor — or any governor — to remain close to constituents, but let’s be candid about much of this travel.
Many of the governor’s flights are self-serving, dog-and-pony show photo opportunities.
The chief executive is dunning his own departments to stave off spending from his own budget. It’s a pathetic practice and poor public policy.
We support the bipartisan effort in the legislative branch to call him to account.
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