Eric Greitens’ very bad week: Missouri jobs plummet, then secrecy allegations fly

Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens

This has not been a good week for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

— On Tuesday, state officials announced that total nonfarm jobs had plummeted by 13,400 in March.

Overall, in the first two months of the Greitens administration, total employment was down by 9,800.

Yes, that’s a very small sample size of time. However, the 13,400 jobs lost in March — of which 13,200 were in the private sector — is an unusually large number.

It’s also a big deviation from the norm. Missouri was the 7th best state in the nation in employment growth in 2016, adding more than 64,000 jobs. That was the last year of Gov. Jay Nixon’s service in Jefferson City.

One of Greitens’ stock promises on the campaign trail and as governor is that he’s going to grow jobs. It’s why he promoted and signed the right-to-work law in February, which he claimed would boost employment in the Show Me State.

So far, that pledge has rung hollow. It’s a trend that deserves close attention.

— On Wednesday, a frustrated Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway issued a subpoena that orders Greitens’ administration to release some income tax refund information.

Specifically, the Democratic auditor properly wants to measure if the Department of Revenue is paying out income tax refunds as required within 45 days when people file them. In the cases that doesn’t happen, Missouri taxpayers have to dole out interest payments to those filers.

Galloway skewered the secrecy engaged in by the administration and blamed Greitens for it.

“There is a lack of transparency that has fallen over state government at the direction of the governor,” she said. “This isn’t the first wall that we’ve run into, and so we’re finding a trend here.”

UPDATED 9:15 p.m. Thursday: Greitens said Thursday his office had released the information Galloway wanted. Then the governor got whiny.

“What she did yesterday was nothing but a political stunt,” Greitens told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Given that Greitens is the king of publicity stunts — constantly blowing stuff up with guns during the campaign, for example — this is a silly statement from the state’s leader.

Also, Galloway could not immediately say whether Greitens’ administration had given her what she really requested.

This kind of reprehensible behavior by Greitens has been going on inside his administration for months.

It includes the face he didn’t release his income tax returns in 2016. It continued when he got millions of dollars in “dark money” that’s hidden from the public for his campaign.

As governor, Greitens has refused to release who paid how much for his inauguration and recently began another effort fueled with secretive contributions to promote his agenda.

Who’s trying to buy influence with Eric Greitens? He doesn’t want you to know.

Galloway is right to try to break through and get legitimately needed income tax refund information out of his administration.

Meanwhile, if statewide job numbers keep going down, Greitens suddenly will have even bigger problems confronting him.