State auditor fires back at scathing St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial
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State auditor fires back at scathing St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial

Date: September 6, 2011
By: Ashley Massow
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - State Auditor Tom Schweich expressed his anger with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Tuesday [Aug. 30], saying the paper's editorial about his lawsuit against the governor was "corrupt, dishonest, and a total disservice to the people of Missouri."

The Post-Dispatch opinion article, published Tuesday [Aug. 30] morning, attacked Schweich's lawsuit and suggested political motivations. The editorial charged Schweich is more concerned about his own budget, which suffered a $300,000 budget cut by the governor, rather than the needs of Joplin.

"Mr. Schweich wants the court and the public to believe that his budget is more important than helping [the] city rebuild," the editorial read.

“To suggest that I would sacrifice the people of Joplin for my own budget ... [that] is beyond the pale,” Schweich said at a news conference Tuesday [Aug. 30].

Schweich said his suit is based on enforcing the state constitution, which authorizes the governor to withhold appropriated funds only if revenues fall below the estimate upon which the budget was based.

Schweich said the governor's withholdings had taken funds appropriated by the legislature for programs including Medicaid, state universities and the transportation department.

In an earlier letter to Nixon and in the lawsuit, Schweich said the governor's budget director has failed to present any data indicating that tax collections have fallen below estimates since the budget year began July 1.

Schweich said he expected an apology from the St. Louis newspaper.

Nixon was questioned about the auditor's news conference at an event in Mexico, Mo.

“I will continue to manage the finances of the state of Missouri in a prudent way that has become the standard of our state for many, many years,” Nixon said in response to a question raised by Columbia TV station KOMU.

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