JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Leaders across the state are responding after Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson called a special session on a supplemental budget bill to be held two days after the election.
After the General Assembly passed the budget in May, more funding through the CARES Act is now available. The supplemental budget will allow for the funds to be used and distributed.
The governor says the bill contains funding for the school nutrition services program, the emergency solutions grant program for homelessness prevention, job training grants, and child support payments, among other areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We still have CARES Act funding that needs to be distributed to Missourians," Gov. Parson said at his Wednesday briefing. "We look forward to working with the general assembly to make sure these funds are distributed across Missouri as soon as possible."
Calling lawmakers back to the capitol in November garnered mixed reactions from other Missouri Leaders. His opponent in the upcoming gubernatorial race State Auditor Nicole Galloway's campaign said this move is too late, saying Parson should have taken action sooner to distribute the CARES Act funding.
“This is way too little, way too late from a Governor who has failed at every step to contain the virus and put Missouri’s economy back on track. The Governor should have taken action on day one to get these funds to the Missourians who need them most. But he didn’t — and instead too many lost their lives, businesses closed, jobs were lost, and the virus went unchecked.Kevin Donohoe, Galloway For Governor spokesperson
The statement goes on to criticize the timing of the special session.
Governor Parson’s inability to distribute a billion dollars in CARES Act funding is one of the greatest failures of his two years in office. Waiting until after Election Day to take action is just the latest example of Parson’s political cynicism and administrative incompetence.”Kevin Donohoe, Galloway For Governor spokesperson
Republican State Representative Chuck Basye of Rocheport said this is a good thing for Missouri, as more federal dollars can help out a lot of different departments and agencies in need.
"I think it can go in a lot of different directions, certainly schools are very appropriate," Basye said. "More money is always a good thing in situations like this."
For Basye, he said schools were a top priority for him, but nursing homes and anyone needing more PPE or other help battling the COVID-19 pandemic were also worthy recipients of these dollars.
He said the timing of the special session was ok and was thankful it was after the election since he is running for re-election this year.
"It suits me better to have it after November 3rd rather than before," Basye said. "Especially given the fact that we are still dealing with the COVID restrictions, it's been a little tough campaigning in some regards."
On the other side of the aisle, House Minority Leader Crystal Quade of Springfield released a statement questioning the necessity of a special session, as the governor has the authority to spend the CARES Act dollars.
“The governor’s response to the pandemic has ranged from indifference to incompetence and thousands of Missourians have died. Calling a special session this close to an election he is in jeopardy of losing seems more like a desperate political move than leadership.”Crystal Quade (D - Springfield), House Minority Leader
ABC17 News reached out to several local lawmakers on both sides asking for a comment, but did not receive responses.
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