Lawmaker Surprised by Governor's Opposition to Office Building

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JEFFERSON CITY - One Republican state senator told KOMU 8 News Monday he was surprised by Gov. Jay Nixon's opposition to a proposed $38 million state office building.

Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said the new building is needed to relieve overcrowding in the capitol building, pointing to double-decked offices on the house of representatives' side of the building and crowded basement offices. He said such a building would most likely go on the site of the Missouri State Penitentiary since the state already owns the land. Kehoe said a new office building would take pressure off capitol restoration efforts and keep the century-old building in good shape for its next 100 years.

The building is included in the budget the General Assembly passed last week along with $50 million for capitol repairs, but Nixon said in a Friday news conference he did not ask for any such building. His office said Monday Nixon felt the money set aside for the building would be better used elsewhere. Kehoe said he had been negotiating with the governor's office about the building, but Nixon spokesman Scott Holste told KOMU 8 News he was not sure whether such negotiations took place.