The legislative session is rolling along. More tax reform being proposed, Medicaid expansion being opposed for the most part and of course the Governor is proposing to build us all a brand new stadium in St Louis! Are you excited yet?

It’s still early to get too excited about various proposals but we are watching the legislature and seeing which ones are going to take shape and have legs.

The budget will take up a lot of time and of course the state is a little strapped for cash. Did I mention that the Governor wants to build a brand new stadium in St Louis?

At any rate, given the cash strapped nature of the various discussion in Jefferson City, a source noticed a stark contrast in two state agencies.

As you may have heard, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) is preparing for a shortfall in their available funds.  You may have also heard that education funds are not only being withheld by Governor Nixon — every year since he’s been Governor that has been a need to hold education hostage, er, I mean, withhold funds from education.

So given the revenue and budget pictures you would think state agencies would do all they can to save some money right? Well apparently not!

As you leave the east end of the Capitol, you walk buy the MODOT building.  MODOT seems to understand that when money is in short supply you should take actions to conserve it.  That includes turning out the lights. Here’s what the MODOT building looked like on Monday night
MoDOT Building

Seems to be a responsible approach with a light only at the door.

Now the next building headed east you come to is the Jefferson Building. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is located in this building. Now surely we want to stretch those education dollars as far as possible and making sure every dime makes it to kids and classrooms right? Well…maybe not everything. Here’s what the Jefferson Building looked like tonight:

Jefferson Building

Granted, some people could have been working but every office?

Governor Nixon mentioned he was concerned about the “optics” in Ferguson and that’s why he didn’t use the National Guard in the city. In the total scheme of things these examples aren’t much more than a drop in the bucket. Repeated across state government and the state and it starts to add up.

Taxpayers are doing what they have to do under difficult economic times. It would seem the state agencies would not only be willing but required to do the same. Governor Nixon might want to consider other “optics” when he thinks about building a new stadium.