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Missouri governor axes state funding for WWI Museum and Kansas City landfill study

FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2020 file photo, Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a news conference in St. Louis. Gov. Parson, a former sheriff running for reelection on a law-and-order platform against Nicole Galloway, Missouri's state auditor. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
Jeff Roberson
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AP
In this Aug. 6, 2020 file photo, Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a news conference in St. Louis. Gov. Parson, a former sheriff running for reelection on a law-and-order platform against Nicole Galloway, Missouri's state auditor.

Gov. Mike Parson slashed more than $555 million from the state’s $51 billion budget last week, despite the state’s record-setting $8 billion surplus. Here’s what got axed locally. 

Missouri's governor cut funding for improvements to an area museum, a feasibility study for a south Kansas City landfill and other Kansas City projects and organizations from the state’s $51 billion budget last week.

Gov. Mike Parson announced 201 line-item vetoes to the state’s budget on June 30. In total, he slashed around $10 million worth of funding for the Kansas City area.

In total, Parson's vetoes amounted to $555.6 million cut from the state’s budget, despite a record-setting $8 billion surplus.

In a statement, he said Missouri’s economic future needed to be kept in mind even as the state sets fiscal records.

“Missouri's economy is strong,” Parson wrote. “Our revenues are up, businesses are growing and investing, and we maintain a historic revenue surplus, but we must not spend just for the sake of spending.”

Cuts in the Kansas City area ranged from museums and entertainment districts to Jackson County water services. Here are some of the Kansas City-area projects chopped from the budget:

  • $3 million for restoration, renovations and improvements to the National WWI Memorial and Museum in Kansas City. The cuts — the largest to a Kansas City-area project — were part of a larger package, which the governor partially approved. The museum will still receive $7 million for the project. 
  • $1.6 million for the design and construction of water storage, water delivery, wastewater systems and stormwater systems in Jackson County.
  • $2 million for an unspecified entertainment district in Kansas City
  • $2 million of coronavirus funding budgeted toward revenue replacement for an unnamed Kansas City community development organization.
  • $150,000 for repairs and renovations to an educational enrichment center focused on STEM for low-income students in Kansas City. 
  • $2 million for equipment purchases for the Kansas City Police Foundation. In a veto letter, the governor said the funding from last year’s budget had not been fully expended. 

Parson said in his veto letter that many of the projects had “limited statewide impact” and are ultimately the responsibility of local governments.

Among the notable approvals in the budget, however, was funding for a $300 million psychiatric hospital to be built in Kansas City to replace the state-owned Center for Behavioral Health, a 115-bed facility.

Kavahn Mansouri is the Midwest Newsroom's investigative reporter.
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