On the same day that a respected national news outlet reported that Missouri has “has lagged behind the nation’s economic recovery,” a new audit is slamming Governor Jay Nixon for wasting taxpayer money on excessive travel.
The brutal report, released by Auditor Tom Schweich this morning, takes Nixon to task for circumventing the appropriations process by billing $1.7 million in expenses to state agencies, exceeding the state’s recommended rate for hotels and meals, and traveling on the taxpayer-funded state plane when flying commercial would save money. For these problems, and more, the auditor gives Jay Nixon’s office the second worst rating.
“This audit makes it clear that Jay Nixon enjoys the perks of being governor—wasting money on a taxpayer-funded plane, nice hotels, and fancy meals. But at the same time that Nixon is living large off of taxpayers, Missourians continue to suffer,” said Lloyd Smith, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party. “Just today, Bloomberg reported that since June 2009, employment in Missouri has dropped more than any other state but Nevada, and Missourians’ personal income growth has been worse than all but 4 other states. It’s time for Missouri to have a governor less concerned about flying around on the state plane and more concerned about the well-being of our families and small businesses here on the ground.”
Over the past 3 years, Nixon’s excessive travel has sustained heavy criticism from Auditors of both parties. In fact, Democrat Susan Montee released an audit in 2010 criticizing the Department of Mental Health for paying for Nixon’s flights as well as some employees of the Governor’s Office.
But despite this bipartisan criticism, it’s clear that Nixon has no intention of cleaning up his act, with the auditor declaring: “For the most part, the Governor's office does not commit to implementing the recommendations.”