JEFFERSON CITY - State Auditor Tom Schweich wants a court to decide if Governor Nixon can take money from some state agencies and give it to others. He says it is a constitutional issue.
At the state capitol today, Schweich claimed the governor cannot skim funds in order to help Joplin relief efforts. Schweich claims he can only withhold funds if tax revnues fall short. So far this fiscal year, he has withheld more than $170 million from various programs, state agencies, and educational establishments.
Schweich later said the Governor did not provide any data to support the withholdings. Schweich said those withholdings were made before the fiscal year began, and money was being moved from one appropriation over to a different one.
Governor Nixon didn't respond when KOMU asked him about the lawsuit.
Schweich said his office had $300,000 withheld from their budget.
"I'm not looking out for my budget. I'm looking out for all these ill, old people and students who are getting their budgets cut and I want to make sure the Governor is acting in a constitutional way before things are cut," said Schweich. "Somebody needs to stand up for all these people who are losing their jobs and losing their programs."
Schweich claims this is why he filed the lawsuit.
Schweich later complained about the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that claimed, "Mr. Schweich wants the court and the public to believe that his budget is more important than helping a city rebuild from one of the worst natural disasters in our state's history."
Schweich said he expected the newspaper to say something like this, but he didn't expect it to say he didn't care about Joplin.
"We will live with whatever the court decides. We'll make our arguments. The governor will make his arguments. The court will decide the constitutional and accounting issues that we've presented," said Schweich.