Letter to Governor Nixon from Democrat Leaders

September 22, 2009

Dear Gov Nixon:

Today, we respectfully offer to you our support for funding the 2010 Tour of Missouri.

With a complete realization of the continued recession that our state is facing, we believe that a 14-to-1 return on the state’s $1.5 million commitment to the Tour of Missouri is a wise investment, especially during these difficult economic times.

The last two years, the Tour of Missouri brought in nearly $60 million in tourism dollars throughout the state. In 2007 and 2008 combined,an estimated 802,000 people saw the race. Another 22 million watched the event on television and viewers in 150 countries viewed live streaming coverage of the event via the Internet.

We will continue to work closely with you and our legislative colleagues in ensuring that we are making smart financial decisions for the families of Missouri. We believe that continuing to fund the Tour of Missouri is a wise investment for communities and tourism across our state.


Sen. Victor Callahan
Rep. Paul LeVota
Rep. Jason Grill
Rep. Tom McDonald
Rep. Jamilah Nasheed
Rep. Chris Carter
Rep. Michele Kratky

BREAKING: KYTV: Most of Tour of Missouri Funding Yet to Be Released

Most of Tour of Missouri Funding Yet to Be Released

Just a third of state tourism funds dedicated to the 2009 Tour of Missouri have been released, a month before the bike race is set to begin, KY3 News has learned.

The state's tourism director said his agency received notice that $500,000 had been released Tuesday. But apparently the state doesn't have the cash flow to immediately provide the remaining $1 million dollars Gov. Jay Nixon promised -- all at once.

"It's authorized to be released, but the state is having a tremendous cash flow problem. The money's just not there," said tourism director Bob Smith.

When asked when he expected to get the remainder of the funds, Smith replied, "I can't answer that, I don't know."

Nixon spokesman Jack Cardetti said the remaining funds "will be released in installments in the coming weeks."

After initially freezing the $1.5 million dollars for the race and facing pressure from cyclist enthusiasts around the country, Nixon decided to ok the money for the cross-state bicycle race in mid-July. On July 14th, Nixon said, "the Office of Budget and Planning will immediately begin to provide state funds for the 2009 Tour of Missouri."

Reached Tuesday afternoon, the event's manager said he was unaware that some of the funding still had not been released.

"I thought we had cleared that hurdle," said Chris Aronhalt of Medalist Sports who is helping coordinate the Tour. "We respect the Governor's office in doing what it has to do, but it is crucial. The timing of the release is crucial to successfully plan and execute the event," Aronhalt said.
A spokesman for Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, who chairs the state Tourism Commission and heavily lobbied to keep state funding for the race, suggested the money is still being withheld.

"Based upon conversations with the Director of the Division of Tourism, it is our understanding that $1 million in funding for this year’s race is still being withheld. I believe this could present some serious challenges with the start of the race just one month away," said Kinder spokesman Gary McElyea.

Aronhalt said not having the money in hand can at times make it difficult to secure commitments with vendors. He did not say that the lack of funds prohibited agreements from being signed, but noted, "it doesn't make life easy." "Bills need to be paid, that's why cash is needed," Aronhalt said.

On top of the Tour funding, Smith said the Tourism division has yet to receive any of its first quarter funding for the 2010 fiscal year. He said the agency should have received around $5 million dollars shortly after July 1st, the start of the fiscal year.

"I'm sure (The Tour) would like to have it all now. I'd like to have it all now. But it's not there right now," Smith said. "We realize we're going to get the money eventually. We're just cautiously reviewing our invoices right now," he said.

The Tour of Missouri is scheduled to run Sept. 7-13 with circuit races in St. Louis and Kansas City. The nearest Ozarks stop is in Rolla.


Save the Tour T-Shirts!!!!

Exciting news from our friends at the Tour of Missouri...

We received an email last night thanking us for our support in helping to Save the Tour! In return for everyone's help, Tour of Missouri has created a "Save the Tour" T-Shirt. These shirts are priced cheap at only $12!! Be sure to purchase one on the website, and spread the cause to save the 2010 Tour of Missouri!!!

KY3 Political Notebook: Kinder "Thrilled" Nixon Now a Tour Supporter


ALSO: Says "Dust-Up" Will Supercharge This Year's Race

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder said the "dust-up" over the possible cancellation of this year's Tour of Missouri will have a supercharge effect on the cycling race now less than three months away.

Kinder held a Tuesday afternoon conference call to thank the volunteers, supporters and media who helped rally to save the 2009 tour from a $1.5 million dollar cut that would have halted the race. Gov. Nixon announced Tuesday that he would release the state funds for the event, but called for more "transparency and accountability."

Kinder made sure to note that the race was "threatened by actions of the Nixon administration," but said he was thrilled to now be able to call the Governor a supporter of the Tour. "I am delighted by the news today that Governor Nixon . . . has released the funds," Kinder said, adding that he was "especially delighted" to welcome Nixon to the ranks of supporters.

Kinder also took note of
video posted by The Notebook last week of then-candidate Nixon taking a shot at the race during a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Springfield last September.

Kinder said those comments showed Nixon "ridiculing and casting aspersions on the Tour of Missouri." He said today marks the first indication that Nixon is a supporter of the effort.

"It is not my victory. It is your victory," Kinder told supporters on the call.


Gov. Nixon's statement on state funding for the Tour of Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon today released the following statement on a Department of Economic Development recommendation that $1.5 million for the Tour of Missouri bicycle race be cut from the Division of Tourism budget:

"Missouri currently faces tremendous financial challenges, and the state must find ways to reduce spending. Even as my administration continues to tighten its belt, I believe that the 2009 Tour of Missouri should go forward. The race will go on this year, and Missourians deserve to know that state funds for the event are used transparently and accountably. They should know precisely how money for the Tour of Missouri is being spent, and that the event is being run in a way that minimizes the cost to taxpayers.

To ensure transparency and accountability, I asked the Office of Administration to seek a full and fair explanation of all expenditures connected with the Tour of Missouri in 2007 and 2008, and of budgeted expenditures and contracts for 2009. A representative from the Office of Administration met today with representatives of the Department of Economic Development, the Division of Tourism and Tour of Missouri, Inc. Because of assurances from the Division of Tourism and the Tour of Missouri, Inc. that they are now willing to share records regarding spending on previous races and planned spending for this year's race, the Office of Budget and Planning will immediately begin to provide state funds for the 2009 Tour of Missouri."


Lt. Governor Kinder on KMOX at 4:15p today

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder is on KMOX St. Louis now!!

Listen Live!!


Tour of Missouri Is On Track!

Quick message to all Tour of Missouri Fan Zone members. The state funds for the Tour of Missouri have been given approval to be released, and the 2009 Tour of Missouri is on track for the most successful year yet!

Plan on calling in at 4:30PM CST today to listen to details on this exciting news.

This call is limited to 1000 listeners, and no questions will be taken.

Call in number is: 712-432-1001 Attendee
Access Code 422623590#