Gov. Eric Greitens has turned out to be an ignorant, one-trick pony when it comes to claiming he’s fighting to spend Missouri tax dollars wisely.
The latest evidence came Wednesday. He vetoed a bill easily passed by the House and Senate to provide $48 million in state bonds to help build UMKC’s arts campus in downtown Kansas City.
The governor thus reneged on the state’s long-held pledge that it would match private funds for crucial projects like this one. It also revealed the desultory answer to my question last week: Does Greitens hate Kansas City.
On his Facebook page, Greitens regurgitated his pat-himself-on-the-back routine of saying he was looking out for taxpayers.
“Politicians are addicted to spending your money,” he began, sweetly oblivious to the fact that he’s a politician who wants to decide how to spend public funds.
Then came the by-now familiar line: “I‘m a conservative outsider. And I told you that I’d act as a budget hawk and protect your money. And that’s what we’re doing.”
Alas, Greitens is too ignorant to realize that one of the great benefits of the $96 million project is to create hundreds of jobs to — you know — actually build the facility. That’s allegedly one of his priorities, too.
In addition, he refused to acknowledge that the arts in Missouri create thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits every year. He whined about the bond bill and belittled UMKC by saying the money would “build and run a conservatory for dancers and art students.”
Democrats, Republicans and Mayor Sly James assailed the inane Greitens stance.
— Jason Holsman (@JasonHolsman) June 28, 2017
— Ryan Silvey (@RyanSilvey) June 28, 2017
— Mayor Sly James (@MayorSlyJames) June 28, 2017
Officials at UMKC and in the University of Missouri system will now spend months scrambling to find other ways to build the facility.
Greitens claimed members of the Board of Curators are “committed to develop a detailed plan to pay for it by making tough budget decisions and using private funds along with strong leaders in the Kansas City community.”
This neophyte elected official doesn’t understand that money is fungible, does he?
UMKC executives and MU curators essentially will have to bleed funds from other worthwhile causes to make up for the public revenues that would have been wisely spent on a great project for the continued resurgence of downtown in the largest city in Missouri.
In addition, UMKC and MU system officials may be able to attract more private funds. But once again, those private foundation dollars could have been used for so many other important projects inside Kansas City or Missouri.
And if they fail to attract the needed revenue? The UMKC arts campus project will die an unfortunate death, all because of Greitens’ in ability to be a strong governor for all of Missouri.