Thursday, June 29, 2017
Kansas City Democrat: Legislature unlikely to override Greitens veto on KC arts funding
Rejecting a top priority of Kansas City business and civic leaders, Gov. Eric Greitens on June 28 vetoed bipartisan legislation that sought to authorize the sale of $48 million in bonds to help finance construction of a downtown arts campus for the University of Missouri Kansas City. Greitens' veto of HCR 19 was his first since taking office in January.
The long-sought downtown arts campus is slated to cost $96 million, with $48 million in private donations already secured to cover half its cost. The state bonds would have paid for the other half. UMKC officials will now attempt to raise more private donations to cover what would have been the state's contribution. However, that could delay the project indefinitely.
Supporters of the downtown arts campus said it would help revitalize downtown Kansas City and provide a strong economic stimulus for the city. HCR 19 enjoyed widespread support in both chambers, passing 117-39 in the House of Representatives and 28-4 in the Senate. In a statement, Greitens, a Republican, called it "wrong" to use public money for the project, notwithstanding the fact that it would be a public facility at a public university.
Lawmakers could attempt to override the action when they convene for their annual veto session on Sept. 13 but that is considered unlikely. Although the measure passed by veto-proof margins, many Republican lawmakers who originally voted for it might be reluctant to override a governor of their own political party.