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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nixon OKs Tour of Missouri funding

The race is on!

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's administration has unfrozen $1.5 million in state funding for the 2009 Tour of Missouri bicycle race.

The Associated Press reported this afternoon that Nixon agreed to spend the money for the ride after tourism officials and race organizers agreed to share details of spending related to the event. Here's what Nixon said in a press release posted on the Web site:
"Missouri currently faces tremendous financial challenges, and the state must find ways to reduce spending. Even as my administration continues to tighten its belt, I believe that the 2009 Tour of Missouri should go forward. The race will go on this year, and Missourians deserve to know that state funds for the event are used transparently and accountably. They should know precisely how money for the Tour of Missouri is being spent, and that the event is being run in a way that minimizes the cost to taxpayers.

"To ensure transparency and accountability, I asked the Office of Administration to seek a full and fair explanation of all expenditures connected with the Tour of Missouri in 2007 and 2008, and of budgeted expenditures and contracts for 2009. A representative from the Office of Administration met today with representatives of the Department of Economic Development, the Division of Tourism and Tour of Missouri, Inc. Because of assurances from the Division of Tourism and the Tour of Missouri, Inc. that they are now willing to share records regarding spending on previous races and planned spending for this year's race, the Office of Budget and Planning will immediately begin to provide state funds for the 2009 Tour of Missouri."
Missouri, like many states, is facing a state budget crisis, and Nixon's administration had considered cutting the $1.5 million as one way to save money. Tour of Missouri organizers said that if the money had been eliminated, the 2009 race would have been canceled.

The Tour of Missouri is slated to begin Sept. 7 in St. Louis and end Sept. 13 in Kansas City.

You can call to hear details of the news at 4:30 p.m. CDT. There will be no questions taken. This is to share the immediately available information. The call is limited to 1000 callers.

To listen, call 712-432-1001. The Attendee Access Code is 422623590#

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