Former top leaders of Missouri disagree about the different approaches Governor-elect Jay Nixon should take when in office this January.
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Former top leaders of Missouri disagree about the different approaches Governor-elect Jay Nixon should take when in office this January.

Date: December 8, 2008
By: Christine Slusser
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: Top leaders from both political parties play tug-of-war with ideas about how Governor-elect Jay Nixon should run his government differently come January.

Christine Slusser has more from the state Capitol.

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Former Missouri Democratic Governor Bob Holden faced a Republican majority in the House of Representatives about six years ago while struggling with an inadequate state budget during his time in office. 

Now Governor-elect Jay Nixon must grapple with a similar situation.

Governor Holden said he proposed tax increases to the Missouri House as a way to fight the state's debt, but it was voted down.

 

Actuality:  HODLEN3.WAV
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Description: "That's the decision that every Governor has to think about and candidly at their own peril, because the public doesn't understand the situation. People want more services at less cost, and we're all that way in everything we do in life."

The former Governor also says he regrets not having more money while in office.

However Senator Jason Crowell, the 2004 Republican House Majority Leader, says the money issues were on Holden's shoulders since he never told the House members what was going on.

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Description: "When we were dealing with the budget, particularly on the House side, we were very disappointed in Governor Holden issuing a gag order basically preventing Linda Luebbering, his budget director at the time, from sharing any information with us what-so-ever."

Crowell also says Governor-elect Nixon is a "leader of a different cloth" and that he already communicates well with both parties, even inviting some top leaders to his Christmas party.

Governor Holden says he does not think he could have had a different relationship with the Republicans while in office.

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Description: "I'm not sure I could, because I tried to reach out to people of other parties but it was obvious that the leadership was more interested in looking at it through political eyes instead of governmental eyes, and they made the decision that there was not going to be room for compromise, and that's unfortunate."

Holden also says Missouri is still in a deficit, and with low tobacco taxes it is obvious to him Missourians need to choose their priorities and realize there are "no free rides."

The 2004 Budget Committee Chair, Carl Bearden, says tax hikes are not something he recommends for Missouri's next Governor.

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Description: "I think that today's environment is very similar to the environment that we faced a couple years ago, with some differences about the on-going economic slow-down, but a Democratic governor could begin by proposing a budget that doesn't increase spending by a tremendous amount."

Bearden also says no matter how prepared Governor-elect Nixon is, there are a lot of challenges ahead with no magic wand to fix them.

Both parties have views on what the 55th governor should do, but all agree only time will tell what may happen when he is sworn into office in January.

From the state Capitol, I'm Christine Slusser.


Intro: Former Governor Bob Holden smells trouble for Governor-elect Jay Nixon who faces the same obstacle Holden did when he held the state's highest office: a Republican majority.

Christine Slusser has more from the state Capitol.

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OutCue: SOC

Former Governor Bob Holden who left office four years ago and dealt with a Republican majority in the legislature, expressed concern about the Republican legislature and about potential problems Governor-elect Nixon could face.

The former Governor says he was hung out to dry while in office because lawmakers found it appropriate to leave all the work to him without outside help.

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Description: "The atmosphere was gridlock, I mean, the strategy was to not solve the problems but leave them at the Governor's doorstep and I thought that was unfortunate for the state."

Former House Majority Leader Republican Jason Crowell says Holden is wrong and if Governor-elect Nixon works with the House, unlike Holden, there will not be problems.

From the state Capitol, I'm Christine Slusser.


Intro: The 2004 House Speaker says communication between Missouri's split government will be much easier under Governor-elect Jay Nixon than when Governor Bob Holden was in office.

Christine Slusser has more from the state Capitol.

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OutCue: SOC

Governor-elect Jay Nixon is facing some of the same challenges former Governor Bob Holden did while in office nearly eight years ago.

The Speaker Pro Tem of the House during Governor Holden's term, Rod Jetton, says the legislature and Governor butted-heads because neither side was used to working with different political majorities. 

 
Actuality:  JETT1.WAV
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Description: "The Governor had a clear set of priorities on what he wanted to do, we had our priorities on what we thought we would like to do, and they were different. And so we had a lot of conflict on we were trying to get our stuff done, he was trying to get his stuff done, and we totally disagreed and we weren't quite ready to compromise."

Jetton says Missouri's government has matured and is now better prepared to work with the different parties since they have grown accustomed to the split between the  legislature and Governor.

From the state Capitol, I'm Christine Slusser.