The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

June 28, 2013

Our View: Nixon’s bumpy ride

— Gov. Jay Nixon is racking up the frequent flier miles. We are not referring to his recent trade mission abroad, paid for by a private foundation. We are referring to his 104 domestic flights, at taxpayer expense, aboard a Highway Patrol aircraft last year.

Nixon’s flying time — measured in hours, not miles — shows his travel accounted for 173.1 hours, or 80 percent, of the total 215.9 hours of plane usage.

The governor’s flight history has been bumpy.

In this forum in the summer of 2009, we criticized Nixon for billing other state agencies for his abundant, and sometimes superfluous, air travel.

Our opinion followed an Associated Press story that reported: “While cutting more than a $1 billion from the budget, eliminating 2,500 state jobs and halving school bus aid, Nixon has racked up tens of thousands of miles on state airplanes — and billed the costs to agencies he is cutting.”

The governor flies aboard an aircraft operated by the Highway Patrol, which ignited a controversy of its own when legislators learned in January the agency had spent $5.6 million to purchase a larger, turbo-prop plane.

As a consequence, lawmakers approved a bill during the session to require the patrol to seek legislative permission to purchase vehicles costing more than $100,000.

Patrol officials, under questioning by lawmakers and reporters, contended the plane is needed for law enforcement purposes and its purchase was not prompted by the governor’s office.

Lawmakers skeptical of that explanation now may feel vindicated; records show four flights for law enforcement purposes in contrast to Nixon’s 104 flights.

Let’s be fair. Governors need to travel.

People who are victims of natural disasters expect their elected chief executive to witness their plight and outline government’s response. To his credit, we believe Nixon has reacted with both professional obligation and personal sincerity to those disasters.

And people throughout the state also want face time to hear, and question, the governor’s agenda and priorities.

But let’s also be realistic. Some of this travel — particularly some fly-around news conferences and bill signings — is a waste of fuel and taxpayers’ dollars. An hour of flying time costs an estimated $650.

The governor would encounter less turbulence if he booked his flying time based on gubernatorial necessities rather than gratuitous ceremonies.

— The Jefferson City News Tribune

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Our View.jpg Our View: No need for No. 9

    “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: ‘Right to Farm’ is wrong

    On Aug. 5, voters will be asked to make a decision about Amendment 1.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: No on Amendment 7

    The Missouri Department of Transportation is wanting more money through a three-quarter-cent addition to the sales tax. Consider one example of how it spends your money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Your View: Bad way to get revenue

    I received two fliers through the mail today asking me to vote “yes” on Amendment 7, which would add a three-quarter-cent tax to Missouri’s sales tax to help maintain roads and bridges.

    July 29, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: Symptom of bad policy

    The Obama administration continues to be surprised and shocked when its policies of good intentions suddenly meet the hard reality of unintended consequences.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rebecca French Smith, guest columnist: Amendment 1: Farmers are 'boots on the ground'

    Take a moment and ask yourself who was the last person in your family to farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View; Makes no sense

    Chess was never my game. It’s too complicated.

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Time value of money

     I was shaking my head along with Anson Burlingame (“Much has changed in U.S. over 14 years,” Globe, July 22), then he offered his readers a chance: “Go ahead — take your pick.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Your View: Boiling a frog

    We voters are now being urged to vote on Aug. 5 for Amendment 7 “to fix our roads, highways and bridges.”

    July 28, 2014

  • Our view: 'Yes' on 7

    Opponents of Amendment 7 say this: “Missouri families are already hard pressed to pay their bills during this period of slow economic recovery.”

    July 26, 2014

Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Sports