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.


Sincerely,

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.

http://ky3.blogspot.com/2009/08/most-of-tour-of-missouri-funding-yet-to.html

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

"IT IS NOT MY VICTORY . . . IT IS YOUR VICTORY"

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.

http://ky3.blogspot.com/2009/07/kinder-thrilled-nixon-now-tour.html

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."

http://governor.mo.gov/newsroom/2009/Statement_on_Funding_for_the_Tour_of_Missouri

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

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

Listen Live!!

http://tinyurl.com/cbvwv3

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#

KY3 Political Notebook: And The Tour Will Go On

Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday he'll release the $1.5 million dollars in state funding to allow the 2009 Tour of Missouri to go on but wants more transparency and accountability in how taxpayer money is spent.

NIXON FULL STATEMENT:

"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," Nixon said.

"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," Nixon concluded.

So -- does Lt. Gov. Kinder get any political credit for rallying the save --

--OR--

Is the 2010 race in more peril than ever before?

http://ky3.blogspot.com/2009/07/and-tour-will-go-on.html

Southeast Missourian: Tour of Missouri to go ahead, funds released by Nixon

The Tour of Missouri will go on as planned. Gov. Jay Nixon announced this afternoon that he would release $1.5 million allocated by the Missouri Tourism Commission to sponsor the cross-state bicycle race.

In a statement issued from his office, Nixon said the state's economic situation is serious but that the race should proceed.

"The race will go on this year, and Missourians deserve to know that state funds for the event are used transparently and accountably," Nixon said. "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."

A representative of Nixon's budget office met with officials from the Division of Tourism, the Department of Economic Development and Tour of Missouri Inc., the not-for-profit corporation that holds rights to the name and other aspects of the race.

"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," Nixon said.

Those figures are being provided and that is enough to allow the $1.5 million in sponsorship funds to be released, Nixon said.

For more information, check back at semissourian.com or read Wednesday's Southeast Missourian.

http://www.semissourian.com/story/1554512.html

STL Today Political Fix: Gov. Jay Nixon: Tour of Missouri will proceed this year

JEFFERSON CITY — The Tour of Missouri is on.

Gov. Jay Nixon issued a statement this afternoon saying that his concern over the “transparency” of the funding for the race has been satisfied, for this year, at least.

The race had been threatened by a $1.5 million budget cut proposed by Department of Economic Development director Linda Martinez. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, and various tourism officials started a full-court blitz of pressure urging Nixon to not cut the funds.

Today, Nixon said that tour officials have agreed to provide his office an accountability of where the money goes for the Tour of Missouri. Said Nixon:

“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.”

http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/political-fix/political-fix/2009/07/gov-jay-nixon-tour-of-missouri-will-proceed-this-year/

KansasCity.com Prime Buzz: The Tour will go on

JEFFERSON CITY | There will be a Tour of Missouri this year.

Gov. Jay Nixon this afternoon announced he wouldnot follow through on a recommendation to cut $1.5 million in state funding for the tour, a move that would have forced its cancellation less than two months before it was scheduled to begin.

Here's Nixon's statement:

“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.”


http://primebuzz.kcstar.com/?q=node/19203

News-Leader: Nixon: Tour of Missouri will go on

Gov. Jay Nixon today backed down from his administration's threat to pull funding for the Tour of Missouri international bicycle race.

"The race will go on this year," Nixon said in a written statement, "and Missourians deserve to know that state funds for the event are used transparently and accountably."

Since last week, the governor has been sitting on $1.5 million that the independent Missouri Tourism Commission allocated to promote the Tour of Missouri in April.

Nixon, a Democrat, wanted the nonprofit organization that runs the race — Tour of Missouri Inc. — to release its 2007, 2008 and 2009 budget and spending records to bring more transparency.

"Even as my administration continues to tighten its belt, I believe that the 2009 Tour of Missouri should go forward," Nixon said in the statement.

Nixon said taxpayers "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."

The race is heavily promoted by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Nixon's chief political rival.

Kinder's staff is heavily involved in planning the race, which may attract racing star Lance Armstrong to the Show-Me state in September.

http://www.news-leader.com/article/20090714/BLOGS09/90714049/-1/RSS13

BREAKING NEWS

The Governor has released the funding.... stayed tuned for information!!!!

Letter from Kyle

Governor Nixon,

By now you have heard from perhaps thousands of enthusiastic cycling fans and Missourians alike, hoping you will reverse the proposed $1.5 million reduction of spending to the Tour of Missouri. It has perhaps been explained repeatedly that this is by far Missouri's largest sporting event, larger even than next week's All-Star Game in St. Louis.

Save the occasional visit by the Toronto Blue Jays to Kauffman Stadium, the Tour of Missouri is our state's only opportunity to host an international sporting contest. And this contest isn't confined to the stadia of our two major metropolitans. Over the span of a week in September, dozens of the world's top cyclists tackle the breathtaking scenery and relentless terrain of Missouri's sideroads, bringing a globally popular sport to outstate areas. Fans from around the world, many fresh from cheering on their favourite teams in France, will line the highways around Jackson, Salem, Vienna, Utica, and countless other smaller towns that otherwise would go without notice even to their fellow Missourians from Kansas City and St. Louis. These fans bring with them the spending power of the Euro, Sterling, and other world currencies, introducing new revenue into the various businesses along the route and sponsoring the tour.

For who do these fans and visitors to the Show-Me State cheer? Of the 14 teams confirmed to appear in September, seven are currently racing in le Tour de France, and among their ranks share 22 championship jerseys from cycling's big three European and American races over the past decade and seven Olympic gold medals. Aside from the Tour of California, the Tour of Missouri is their only other opportunity to experience quality competition in the United States.

I write this letter 4400 miles away, in the English county of Kent. Two years ago, the Tour de France rolled through here from London to Canterbury, and stories of that day remain popular among the natives. I have been in the area for only six weeks, and in that time have sought to promote my native Missouri to nearly everyone I meet. While the newest ambassador to the United Kingdom is a St. Louis native, I struggle to find signs of Missouri's current impact on the UK. In a recent BBC miniseries, where humourist Stephen Fry visited every state in the US, his stop in Missouri was at an abandoned warehouse in St. Louis where three homeless people were living. In terms of edibles, stores carrying wines from America have inventory only from California, ignoring our lush vineyards that the Tour of Missouri emphasises every year. The mere mention of Boulevards, toasted ravioli and pulled pork on a bun, perhaps our state's staple foods, draws blank stares. When I mention that I'm from Missouri, often I have to explain where in the United States we are and for what we're famous. Unfortunately, sometimes I have to mention a certain state to the west for context, prompting anecdotes about Dorothy and Toto.

I state the preceding because I see the potential the Tour has in promoting a positive image of Missouri to the world. I Since its inception, I have been most supportive of the Tour. In the inaugural race, I volunteered along the route at three separate stages. Were it not for my employment away from the Tour route, I would have done so last year and again this September. And since I first learned of the Tour, I feared that it would become a political football, both used by its supporters and detractors. Sadly, I believe it has become the case. I am fully aware of the partisan pressure that may be attached to resorting the funds. I too know the situation Missouri and much the world is facing economically, trying to find ways to keep afloat and re-evaluating spending priorities. Already this year's tour has an increase of sponsors, and the chance exists that next year enough sponsors will line up to negate the need for taxpayer assistance.

Of the world's most popular sports, no sport brings the top athletes to the farthest reaches of a region than cycling. It would be a considerable stretch to bring soccer's Beckham, Rooney or Ronaldo to our hometowns of DeSoto or Kirksville, and while one could predict the likelihood of Albert Pujols or Matt Cassel visiting either, they already bring positive name recognition to Missouri and thus don't capture the intrigue and buzz the way Lance Armstrong, Fabian Cancellara, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Danny Pate, Christian VandeVelde and others could, should funding be fully restored to the Tour of Missouri.

The Tour of Missouri is a showcase of the entire state and puts many of our 114 counties in the spotlight. The state has poured tens of millions into athletic facilities including the Edward Jones Dome, the Chiefs' new training camp in St. Joseph, and several university athletic facilities; facilities that fans in outstate communities must drive to reach. By maintaining financial support for the Tour of Missouri, the state can not only show support for a truly international sport but also showcase an alternate method of transportation that is healthy for the rider and considerably more environmentally friendly.

Please fully restore funding to this major showcase of our great State.

Regards,
Kyle
Folkestone, Kent, UK

News-Leader: Tour of Missouri releases budget details

By Chad Livengood

In the face of growing criticism from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, the Tour of Missouri Inc. has released its 2008 and 2009 budgets as bicycle race promoters continue to lobby the governor to spare them from his budget ax.

The Tour of Missouri projected $3,784,000 in revenue this year and budgeted to spend $3,605,200, according to the budget provided to the News-Leader upon request.

Projected revenue was estimated at about $2.8 million from sponsors, including the state's $1.5 million share. Bicycle team participants are budgeted to pay $63,000, according to the document.

Nixon's Economic Development Department has recommended slashing the state's $1.5 million subsidy of the international sporting event less than two months before teams are set to race from St. Louis to Kansas City.

Nixon, a Democrat, has yet to make a decision on the Tour's fate, but a spokesman said Monday because of the timing of the race it will likely happen before other budget cutting decisions are made.

The governor has asked department heads to come up with $60 million in cuts to the state's $23 billion budget for the current 2010 fiscal year, which began July 1.

In Kansas City on Monday, Nixon told reporters he was concerned with the idea of turning over $1.5 million in tax dollars to the Tour of Missouri Inc., a nonprofit corporation that runs the race setup by Nixon's political rival, Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

"There's also mental hospitals out there, there's also special need kids, but the bottom line is that we're very — very hopeful," Nixon told reporters, according to KCUR 89.3FM public radio.Tour of Missouri Inc.'s 2008 budget shows last year's race cost about $3.1 million and revenue was approximately $3.2 million.

How Tour of Missouri Inc. works

Tour of Missouri Inc. is a nonprofit organization created in January 2008 to run the professional bicycle race, which began in 2007.

It's executive director is Jerry Dowell, deputy lieutenant governor to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, R-Cape Girardeau. Dowell is not paid for his work for Tour of Missouri Inc., said Kinder spokesman Gary McElyea.

Stacey Blomberg, who works in the accounting department for the Division of Tourism, serves as Tour of Missouri Inc.'s treasurer.

Bob Smith, director of the Division of Tourism, provides her services to Tour of Missouri Inc. at no cost.

Smith estimated Blomberg spends 50-60 percent of her time doing work for Tour of Missouri, amounting to $20,000 to $25,000 additional state subsidy of the race.

Smith said that arrangement was set up by the Division of Tourism's former director, Blaine Luetkemeyer, who left the post in 2008 and was later elected to Congress, representing Missouri's 9th District.

Blomberg's gross pay in 2008 was $54,087.75, according to Missouri Accountability Portal, http://mapyourtaxes.mo.gov.

The Tour of Missouri was started under the auspices of the Hawthorn Foundation, a quasi-governmental organization that generates private funding for economic development.

In 2008, Hawthorn Foundation transferred its ownership of the Tour's name, trademark and operation to the newly formed Tour of Missouri Inc., according to Rich AuBuchon, chief of staff and general counsel to Kinder.

At the time, AuBuchon was deputy director of former Gov. Matt Blunt's Office of Administration.

AuBuchon, speaking from prior experience and not for Kinder's office, said the Tour of Missouri Inc. was set up as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization so that corporate sponsors could get a tax write off for underwriting the race.

Donors couldn't tget a tax write-off when they donated money for the race to the Hawthorn Foundation, which was created in 1982 by then-Gov. Kit Bond to supplement the state's marketing efforts to attract businesses to Missouri, AuBuchon said.

Every year, the Missouri Tourism Commission has approved subsidizing the race with tax dollars through the Division of Tourism, a wing of the Economic Development Department that the commission is supposed to have autonomous control over.

In order to get the money released to Hawthorn Foundation and now Tour of Missouri Inc., the Office of Administration has had to give the race operators a “single source designation," meaning they're the only corporation or organization that can provide the service, AuBuchon said.

A "single source designation" also means the state does not have to follow normal bidding rules because the corporation or organization is the "sole provider," AuBuchon said.

The Nixon administration has not taken action on the single source designation request.

Instead, Nixon's Office of Administration requested the $1.5 million for the Tour of Missouri be funneled through the state's advertising contractor, Hoffman Lewis in St. Louis.

Smith said the additional middleman was added to the process because the money is supposed to be used by Tour of Missouri for advertising and promotion of the race, which at least one economic impact study estimates up to 400,000 people watched last year.

“It’s a normal fit to go that way,” Smith said.

Smith said his department officially signed a contract with Tour of Missouri Inc. on Monday.

Kinder, the race's biggest promoter, serves as chairman of Tour of Missouri Inc. and the Missouri Tourism Commission and has referred to the race in public as "my bicycle race."

Letter from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

Dear Governor Nixon,

On behalf of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and the 7,500 businesses in the metropolitan area this organization represents, I write to encourage you to release the funds committed for the Tour of Missouri race scheduled for September.

While The Chamber supports your emphasis on spending restraints, particularly in these difficult times, last year's race generated $30 million in economic activity, which if repeated this year is a healthy return on the $1.5 million state investment. Additionally, just two months remain until the race begins. Should the state pull out at this late date, the race itself would be threatened and perhaps cancelled.

We believe this event is a proven boost to the state's economy and a terrific showcase for the natural beauty of of the state.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Pete Levi
President, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

Letter from the Missouri Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus

Dear Governor,

On behalf of the Missouri Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus (representing 33 communities in the State of Missouri) I encourage you to expedite immediate release of the $1.5 million from the Division of Tourism’s budget to fund the 2009 Tour of Missouri. While a thorough review of the event and its net ROI needs to be made before making further commitments, THIS commitment has already been made. We have numerous cities, hundreds of volunteers, local business sponsors and thousands of citizens in the State of Missouri that have been working diligently on this project for nearly a year. To pull the plug on committed state funding at this late date would be harmful to all involved and would poorly reflect on this great state.

I assure you that sufficient inquiry, by the industry, will be made prior to future commitment for this event, but we need to quickly move forward to insure the success of our communities and citizens.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely

Ross Summers
President, Missouri Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus

KFUO Interview with Kinder

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was interviewed on KFUO this morning... here's the audio:

http://www.kfuoam.org/mp3/ms7/MS_Jul_14e.mp3

KCUR: Tour of Missouri Still in Limbo

KANSAS CITY, MO (kcur) - Ready, set, now wait.

Missouri cycling fans will have to keep holding their breath for a final decision from the governor as to whether he'll approve state funding for the Tour of Missouri.

Nixon said financing the tour is a fiscal challenge.

"There's also mental hospitals out there, there's also special need kids, but the bottom line is that we're very - very hopeful," Nixon said.

Even if he does green light funding, Nixon said he will require greater transparency as to how taxpayer dollars for the race are used.

Tour officials say they need a final decision from the governor by the end of the week.

Link with Audio

St. Joseph News-Press: Tour goes into a skid

Our heart says to spend the money needed to keep the Tour of Missouri rolling through Northwest Missouri this September.


Our head says it’s wise to explore other options if this is going to be a $1.5 million drain on the state treasury.


It’s not comforting to know the state Department of Economic Development is the agency recommending eliminating the funding — amounting to 46 percent of the total $3.3 million tour budget. Agencies were asked to identify possible budget cuts, and the one most responsible for boosting the state’s economy put the competitive cycling event on the chopping block.


As supporters circle the wagons, we note one of their best arguments presumably is that last year’s event produced an estimated $29.8 million economic impact for the state. They have to wonder what part of that is not understood by the folks at economic development.


We suspect the problem is not one of trusting the numbers but rather one of setting priorities for cash outlays at a time when tax revenues are down.


It could be the agency has other projects in mind that could produce higher or more-direct returns to the state government. It could be the agency recommends this cut as the best of several bad choices, and for whatever reason is reluctant to cut something else. It could be someone thinks the “bike people” simply can go get another sponsor or two and save the taxpayers their portion.


Timing of the tour — less than 60 days away — requires that Gov. Jay Nixon’s office complete its assessment promptly. The notion of “weeks” until a decision is rendered very likely could force the tour to fold, as did the Tour of Georgia race after it could not find a title sponsor.


We think it highly unlikely that other large sponsors are waiting in the wings for their names to be called.


More likely, Gov. Nixon will need to decide, in partnership with the Missouri Tourism Commission and other interested parties, just what it is worth to host an international sporting event that has the potential for future growth.

Statement from Rep. Clint Tracy

"Many of you may have already heard that the Tour of Missouri is in jeopardy of being canceled. This news comes at a time when the race is set to start within 60 days. The possible cancellation is the result of the director of economic development's decision to freeze $1.5 million for the race, roughly 40 percent of the race budget. I urge my constituents to call Gov. Jay Nixon and request that he immediately reconsider and release these dollars.


"This race is the largest sporting event the state has ever hosted. In 2007 and 2008, over 800,000 people from all over the world watched this race. The University of Missouri's School of Business calculated the race's direct economic impact over the last two years to be nearly $60 million, quite a return on the state's $3 million investment. Cape Girardeau, the finish line for Stage 2 of the race, will be directly affected by loss of revenue. Cancellation of this event will most assuredly open Missouri up to lawsuits for breach of contract.


"While we are in tougher economic times than the previous two years, the $1.5 million that the Department of Economic Development would save would simply be spent elsewhere. Compounded with the loss of sales tax revenue from the visitors and guests to our state, this move, without a doubt, will cost the state far more than it saves.


"If this race is canceled, we are cheating our local small businesses out of tourism dollars they desperately need. Governor Nixon's direct telephone line is 573-751-3222. You may also send a message to www.governor.mo.gov. Click "Constituent services" near the top of the main page."

State Rep. CLINT TRACY, 158th District, Missouri House of Representatives, Cape Girardeau

KMBC: Nixon Hopes To Settle Tour Of Missouri Soon

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said he hopes to make a decision about the Tour of Missouri bicycle tour set for September.

Citing the budget crunch, Nixon has speculated lately about pulling the state support for the race.

At a Kansas City news conference Nixon said, "The issue is the state budget."

He called the tour a fine event, but also noted the state needs money for schools, hospitals and health care.

Nixon also said he is troubled by the fact that state money is turned over to a nonstate agency, which runs the event. He hinted that more disclosure about how funds are spent is also an element in the final decision.

He also disputed Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's assertion that he and the governor barely speak. Kinder is a big booster of the bicycle event. Nixon said the claim they don't talk is not true. He said they had a phone conversation last Friday afternoon.

It's time to be heard!!!

RT @savethetour Sounds like we will have our answer in the next few days. Let's push hard! Call Gov. Nixon at 573-751-3222, tell him to release the funds!

Join the efforts on Twitter: www.twitter.com/savethetour

Email the Governor here: http://www.tourofmissouri.com/savethetour.html

Press Release from Missouri Bicycle Federation

Press Release from the Missouri Bicycle Federation
Missouri Bicyclists Support the Tour of Missouri

The Missouri Bicycle Federation has received word today that the Department of Economic Development, under direction from Governor Nixon, has proposed cutting $1.5 million in funding from the 2009 Tour of Missouri professional bicycle race.

The proposed cut appears to be confirmed in a copy of a memo from Linda Martinez, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, posted to the web site http://savethetourofmissouri.comIf that crucial funding is cut it is likely to stop the 2009 Tour.

"The Tour of Missouri is strongly supported by the two million bicyclists in Missouri," said Missouri Bicycle Federation Executive Director Brent Hugh. "It is an exciting event that has brought tourism dollars to large and small towns across the state, including lots of smaller cities and towns--like bringing the Rams to Branson or St. James."

"The Tour has put Missouri in an amazingly good light on an international stage--and is one of the few investments of this type that actually more than pays for itself in the state tax revenue it brings in."

The 2009 Tour's funding was approved by the General Assembly as part of the regular budget, signed by the Governor, and approved by the Missouri Tourism Commission.

"We thought the Tour funding was safe for 2009," said Hugh. "It's very disappointing to find out that is not true."

The Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation encourages its members and others who support the Tour of Missouri to call the Governor's office at 573-751-3222 to let him know about citizen support for the Tour.

Farm Bureau lends support to the Tour!

From the Missouri Farm Bureau, a sponsor of the Tour of Missouri:

By now, many of you may have heard or read news reports that Governor Jay Nixon’s office and the Department of Economic Development are considering withholding $1.5 million in funding for the 2009 Tour of Missouri. This funding represents nearly half of the money needed to hold the event. If the money is withheld, it would most likely result in the cancellation of the Tour. President Kruse has sent a letter to Governor Nixon, urging him not to withhold these funds, and explaining why our organization thinks the Tour of Missouri is good for our state.

Here is Mr. Kruse’s letter to Governor Nixon:

Dear Governor Nixon:

As a supporter of the 2009 Tour of Missouri, we are concerned about the reported proposal to withhold $1.5 million from this year’s race. It is our hope you will consider the ramifications of such an action as it could result in the cancellation of this year’s event.

As one of many sponsors, our organization has been impressed with the overall race and the excitement it generates within Missouri. The fact that the race attracts many of the world’s top professional riders, takes place within the state’s boundaries and encompasses many different regions and communities makes it a unique event. Among other things, we believe the Tour of Missouri provides an excellent opportunity to highlight the diversity of Missouri agriculture.

Businesses, communities and individuals have been making plans associated with the 2009 Tour of Missouri since the conclusion of last year’s race. Withholding funds at this late date would no doubt make it difficult to hold this year’s race; canceling the event would obviously have a detrimental economic impact and also create uncertainty about the ability of the state to honor financial commitments associated with future events.

Following the conclusion of the 2009 Tour of Missouri, it makes sense to analyze the overall economic impact of the event and evaluate the use of general revenue or other state resources in the future. Ultimately, these issues will be important as state officials decide whether or not to extend the Tour of Missouri beyond this year.

Sincerely,
Charles E. Kruse

President, Missouri Farm Bureau

We will keep you posted as to future developments.If you wish to contact Governor Nixon’s office to voice your support of the Tour of Missouri, the telephone number is 573-751-3222 and the email address is http://governor.mo.gov/contact.

Letter from Karen

We want to come to the Tour of Missouri because the Tour de Georgia was cancelled. We plan on renting a car, staying in Drury hotels, eating at high end restaurants, and buying Missouri wines. I'm sure we're not the only ones.

Please consider funding the Tour & prepare for the tourists!

Karen from Knoxville, TN

Letter from Mike

Governor Nixon,

I am an avid cycling fan and before the Tour of Missouri I supported the Tour of Goerge with my vacation dollars. Over the last two years the Tour of Missouri has gained a great reputation as a well organized event. I have many friends in Southern Illinois and have many of them excited about and planning on coming to see the Tour this year as it goes through Southeastern Missouri. If the Tour is cancelled I will go back to spending my vacation dollars outside of the state.

Please reconsider your actions.

Sincerely,

Mike

Letter from Brad

Sir,

I hope you reconsider cancelling the Tour this year. I caught one stage last year and was planning on bringing my whole family from the east coast to catch the last 2-3 stages this year. I'm sure I'm not the only one planning to visit your state just to watch this race.

V/r,

Brad from Virginia

Letter from Oran

Dear Sir,

I plan to travel from Ireland for 2 weeks to the US in September. I will spend one week in Missouri following the Tour. I did the same earlier this year in California, renting a car for the duration and staying in hotels and eating in resturants along the route. A small part in what would be a vital injection of cash.

Please reconsider your decision and allow the Tour of Missouri to continue this year.

Oran

Letter from Daniel

Gov. Nixon,

Have you seen any of the Tour de France this year? Record crowds in every city! If Lance Armstrong comes with Astana to Missouri, we're going to have unbelievable crowds all over.

IT WOULD BE CRAZY TO NOT HAVE THE TOUR OF MISSOURI THIS YEAR IF LANCE IS COMING.

Levi Leipheimer twittered yesterday: "The crowd on the Tourmalet was RIDICULOUS!! It was awesome! Thanks to everyone who journeyed their way up there". Check some of the other riders twitters (like Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie (2007 Tour of Mo winner) and Mark Renshaw from Columbia Highroad).

Lance wrote yesterday: "The Tour has gotten so big that approx. 8,000 are looking for rooms every night. That's about the population of this stage town, St Girons." Missouri needs this problem! :)

Daniel

Letter from Mark

Gov. Nixon,

I just learned from the Missouri Division of Tourism that the $1.5 million set aside for the 2009 Tour of Missouri was frozen by you. It is obvious from this decision that you do not fully understand or appreciate the economic activity and revenues that are generated by the Tour of Missouri, both directly (through hotels, car rentals, dining out, etc...) throughout the state of Missouri, and indirectly through increased international exposure for our state (both in major metropolitan areas and rural portions of Missouri).

From a purely economic perspective, it is incredibly short-sighted and foolish to withhold this money from the 2009 Tour of Missouri. Independent estimates indicate that the Tour of Missouri generates approximately $30 million dollars of activity in Missouri each year. Spending $1.5 million to create a $30 million benefit for the state is an easy decision.

From a PR standpoint it will be an absolute nightmare for the State of Missouri if the Tour of Missouri is cancelled this year as a result of your decision. Not only will Missouri businesses lose millions of dollars in revenues this year, Missouri as a destination will be marred by a large segment of the international community, a segment that does not hesitate to travel to less popular locales and spend their hard-earned money. The state’s reneging on its commitment to the Tour will also hurt other future economic development opportunities in Missouri. Regardless of the industry, as new opportunities arise businesses will be less likely to take a chance on Missouri for fear that any commitment from the state will be reneged and unfulfilled in the 11th hour. This sets a terrible economic precedent, which will impact us for years – certainly for the remainder of your tenure in office.

I voted for you in the last election and am absolutely dumbfounded that you do not see the value or importance of this international event being held in our state. Rest assured you will not get my vote in the next election if this money is not restored or your office does not make alternate arrangements, which would sustain the Tour's existence, in the place of state appropriations. I am not a single issue voter, but this particular issue says a great deal about broader issues such as: (1) your ability, or lack thereof, to see the bigger picture in a given situation from an economic and/or cultural perspective (with a tight budget it's much easier to cut something like this rather than some other program or expenditure that might create more backlash in the short-term even though this has higher long-term value for the state), (2) the value you place on the state keeping its prior commitments, and (3) your commitment to foster economic development across the ENTIRE state rather than just in St. Louis or Jefferson City.

I implore you to make the right decision and restore the funding for the Tour of Missouri right away.

Kind regards,
Mark from Liberty, MO

KC Star: Consideration to cut funds of Tour of Missouri is purely political

By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star

News that budget cuts might cancel the upcoming Tour of Missouri raised even the least politically savvy of eyebrows. Nothing figured.

With less than two months before the start of the seven-day, cross-state tour of elite cyclists, why would the tour even be considered for budget cutting?

The suggestion is akin to canceling a fundraiser that’s been in the works for a year a few hours before the event.

If the cyclists end up not spinning through Missouri, the reason will have little to do with cost savings.

This has to be politics, plain and simple. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s weak attempt to jab a political rival, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, is stamped on behind-the-scenes maneuvers. Kinder, a Republican, has long latched his image to the race, which is in its third year.

Surely there are other political arenas where Nixon and Kinder can joust.

The governor’s office is holding to the idea that canceling the Tour of Missouri is about putting finite resources in lean times toward finding Missourians jobs. He’s banking that the rationale will be swallowed by a gullible public.

Fine if the target were a distant, still-in-the-planning-stages quilting exposition, something without the star power of the tour and without Kinder’s thumbprint.

But we’re talking Lance Armstrong here. The event would bring Armstrong’s team and others now cycling in the Tour de France to Missouri. That’s international exposure and millions in revenues that Missouri could never afford to entice, even in booming budget years.

Nixon’s request for departments to identify budget trims is understandable. The Missouri Tourism Commission, of which Kinder is chairman, complied by hacking $5.7 million, mostly from advertising. Then it was told that only about $2.7 million was necessary. Better yet. The commission was ahead of the game.

But last week, the commission’s funds were frozen. Every dime would have to meet the approval of higher-ups. A memo from the Department of Economic Development had the Tour of Missouri already on the chopping block for a savings of $1.5 million.

Do the math. Estimates are the tour will garner at least $30 million from spectators. And that is money to be pocketed by businesses across the state as the riders wind through cities rural and urban on a more than 600-mile route. Impossible to calculate is the image boost.

Much of the world still hears “Missouri” and envisions cows and bib overalls. We don’t need to be known for a last-minute cancellation of an internationally recognized event.

Politicos of all parties are equal-opportunity offenders. They like to tout the public good will, preen about the welfare of the masses being their driving force.

That so? Prove it. Get this race back on the road.

Kinder Live on KFRU

Just got a message that Lt. Gov. Kinder is live right now on KFRU:

http://player.cumulusstreaming.com/pad/nowplaying2008.html?KFRU-AM

KOLR: Local Bikers Worry About Losing Tour of Missouri

by Kevin Schwaller

Local cyclists are spinning over the future of the state's biggest bike race. Governor Jay Nixon has asked all state departments to shave significant amounts from their budgets, and that could jeopardize the Tour of Missouri. Members of Springbike Bicycle Club say the tour has helped them get people interested in cycling. They say canceling the tour would put an end to a huge tourism draw for the state.

"It's nice to have one of the major events here in Missouri," said local cyclist Chris Baker.These are no casual cyclists. Some members of the club ride 50 miles everyday but that doesn't mean these cyclists are ready for the tour.

"The relatives that we have they'll ask us, well why aren't you racing in the tour of Missouri?" said Vice President of the club John Bradley. "Well even at our best we couldn't hang on to the end of the peloton."

"You know along with California, it'd be one of the only two major events in the country," said Baker.

Now possible cuts are jeopardizing the event's future. Governor Nixon's administration is looking to balance the budget in the face of a projected shortfall in revenue.

"It seems if you're going to make a discussion to cut you ought to cut things that that purely take money not money that generates money," said Springbike's president David Ritchey.

Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (R) posted a letter on the Tour website as part of a public relations campaign to convince the governor to keep the funding for the race. He says, among other things, that the tour would quote cease to exist if the governor cuts the funds. He also says the race has already brought nearly $60 million dollars of economic impact for the state.

Lieutenant Governor Kinder also says the Nixon administration froze the state money for the race. The state's commitment for the 2009 tour was $1.5 million.

"We're in a difficult process right now to make sure the amount of money coming in matches the amount of money going out," said Governor Jay Nixon (D).

Governor Nixon says his office is still looking at the possible cuts, part of keeping the state's budget on track.

"This is just another part of what we're doing in the state of Missouri so that we're not going to end up like California or like Illinois or other states where basic services are being threatened," said the governor.

Friday, the Missouri Tourism Commission voted 7-0 to keep the funding for the race. The governor has not made his decision on the future of that money.

This year's race is scheduled to start September 7.

Letter From John

via the Tour of Missouri Facebook Group:

I sent an email early yesterday and got the standard reply. Whether anyone in the Gov. office actually reads it remains to be seen but the long and short of it is my wife and I are (were) traveling from South Carolina for the Tour. If it is cancelled, we, along with the money we were going to spend will remain in SC or possibly go to Florida instead. I also reminded whomever decides to read it that, as a building contractor that is doing reasonably well in the current ecomonic situation, keeping ones word and honoring commitments goes a long way toward success. Politics sucks, it seems that Gov's. all over the country are doing thier best to embarass their states.

John

Letter from Rick

Gov. Nixon:

I had to write to encourage you to release the funding for the Tour of Missouri. While it is true I'm not a Missouri voter, I am an avid cycling fan who planned to come to Missouri and spend money this September, and I have been talking up the Tour of Missouri to friends from as far away as Indiana, Alabama and Mississippi who also were considering a trip to Missouri this year. If what the state really needs is additional revenue, tourism dollars from the Tour would be one very good means of attracting people and their wallets. The Tour has become one of the premier cycling events in the country, and it would be deplorable if the State were to be so short-sighted as to take steps that would result in the cancellation of an event that could otherwise be a financial boon to the state.

Please release the funds for the Tour of Missouri.

Thanks,

Rick

Mathewson supports the Tour?

Sources are telling us that former President Pro-Tem of the Missouri State Senate, Jim Mathewson, has sent a letter to Gov. Nixon in support of the Tour of Missouri.

Sen. Mathewson is widely respected by many democrats and republicans. He is also from Sedalia area where this year's time trials are supposed to be held.

We are trying to get a copy of the letter and confirm his support...

Letter from Elizabeth

To whom it may concern:

I am writing to voice my opinion on saving the Tour of Missouri Bike Race. Having the tour as scheduled will bring in revenue to various parts of the state as visitors travel to witness the event. Volunteers such as myself have signed up and are looking forward to participating in the event. Citizens need to be shown how to be active, healthy, and take pride in their state and this tour brings it all in. People get excited to be a part of an event that showcases talent, drive, exercise, and being outdoors. Cycling to me is just an avid hobby and interest but I look forward to seeing in person my favorites and helping out.

Please do not cancel the tour. It is more about the bigger picture and what the tour represents and what it will for the state then chopping the budget.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Elizabeth

Letter from Mikal

Greetings,

My name is Mikal, I am from Concord, NH. And I'am a big roadie fan and had always want to be part of a Pro Bike tour, and knowing my chances of getting to France were very slim I was trilled to see an advertismeent for the Tour of Missouri last year during the TDF and knew I had to go, it was the best decision I ever made I had the BEST TIME, and learned alot more about a Pro Bike race/tour. I also met a great bunch of people.

Mikal

Letter from Patrick

Gov. Nixon,

As an avid cyclist, taxpayer and long-time resident of the State of Missouri, I am writing to encourage the continued support for the Tour of Missouri. I regularly ride between 4000-5000 miles a year on Missouri roads, support alternative transportation and recognize the tourism benefits that accrue to the State with events such as this Tour. It has brought great credit to Missouri, as well as visitors from surrounding states and further beyond.

In each of the last 2 years I have served as a course marshall for the race stages in St. Charles and St. Louis. The caliber of riders in the event is similar to the major stage races in Europe. I have been in France for 3 of the Tours de France and have personally ridden some of the toughest stages through the Alps. The varied course that has been established for the Tour of Missouri have been heralded by the professional riders as challenging. It would be marvelous if the State could develop a mechanism to provide continued support throughout the years for such a sporting event.

Thank you for your consideration,

Patrick

Letter from Lisa

Governor Nixon,

PLEASE end the freeze on the funds for the 2009 Tour of Missouri. As a University of Missouri employee I am very aware of budget issues and cuts. I also fear that refusing to fund the $1.5 million for the tour this year is short sighted when it brings many times that revenue into our state. Also, it is very late in the game to present such a last minute refusal of funding when so many sponsors have pledged money and many great teams/cyclists from across the world are intending to come to the race. The State of Missouri extended invitations to these cyclists who were gracious enough to accept including the USA Team Astana. The Tour of Missouri is something to be PROUD of, not ashamed that after 2 very successful years our government would withdraw promised funds and hurt many citizens financially by taking away business at such a crucial time economically.

Also, as a Cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong's team is reportedly coming to Missouri to ride in the tour this year and it may be the only time many of us ever get to see him ride. I have followed his story for the past 9 years since my initial diagnosis when I read his first book and watched him win his 2nd Tour de France as I received chemotherapy. He is an inspiration to all and many Missourian's fighting cancer and supporting loved ones who fight cancer have been looking forward to seeing his team ride and share the LIVESTRONG message.

Governor, please reconsider this funding freeze and preserve a youthful, healthy, growing event that Missouri can be proud of!

Sincerely,
Lisa

The Examiner: Was governor serious about cut to bicycle race?

By The Examiner's Editorial Board

Was that hit-and-run politics – at the speed of bike – that we just saw for a couple of days this week?

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has been cutting spending almost from the day he took office in January. State revenues are still down, and he’s asked state departments to identify further potential cuts.

One that worked its way up through the process was dropping the state’s $1.5 million for the Tour of Missouri, the statewide bicycle race that kicks off in two months. Seems a little late in the game, doesn’t it?

For about a day, there were concerns that if the state dropped out, the race would be scratched. On Friday, the Missouri Tourism Commission reaffirmed its support of the race, which will bring media attention and tourism spending to many parts of the state. (Kansas City gets the last leg of the race this year, but Eastern Jackson County is still waiting for its turn.)

The commission questioned whether the governor had the power to set aside this kind of spending, and officials said vendors lined up to do their part of the race might haul the state to court for breach of contract. That stands to reason, and even when word of this came out there was a “they can’t be serious” quality to the idea.

And there’s this. Who has been the most visible champion of the Tour of Missouri? It’s Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. Who has Democratic Gov. Nixon left out of the loop on any number of issues? Peter Kinder. It is enough to raise a few eyebrows.

The governor is doing his job in making needed cuts, but thumbs down to this idea that never seemed to have a chance, given the lateness of the hour. It just caused some needless heartburn for the people who have in three short years done a pretty good job putting Missouri on the big-time bicycle racing map.

UPDATE: DAY 3: Share your Stories!!

Many of you have emailed and called Gov. Jay Nixon. We would like to compile some of these emails and post them here for reporters, fans and politicians to read... Please email your stories to savethetourofmissouri@gmail.com and keep emailing the governor!

Also, the Tour of Missouri folks are encouraging you to make videos and submit them to http://www.tourofmissourifanzone.com/.

Keep it up folks!!! We'll have our answer next week!

UPDATED: Some folks from the Tour of Missouri website just emailed us and told us that the email form on the Tour of Missouri website will now allow people to share their stories on this blog as well!!! Thanks guys!!! Keep sending your emails to Gov. Nixon all weekend long!!!

Here's the link: http://www.tourofmissouri.com/savethetour.html

KFVS-TV: MO Gov. freezes $1.5 mil slated for Tour of Missouri

by Zakk Gammon & AP

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The Missouri Tourism Commission has reaffirmed its support for the Tour of Missouri bicycle race in the face of a potential state budget cut.


Gov. Jay Nixon's administration has frozen $1.5 million of tourism funding intended for the race and is considering whether to eliminate the money to help balance the state budget. Organizers say that would force the cancellation of the September bicycle race. The race normally costs $3.3 million.


At a meeting Friday, members of the state Tourism Commission questioned whether Nixon's administration has the legal authority to control how it spends its money. Commissioners voted to reaffirm their $1.5 million commitment to the race.


Nixon budget director Linda Luebbering said the potential Tour of Missouri cut remains under review.


Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson says a cancellation would be a crushing blow to all the bike enthusiasts and hundreds of volunteers who've put a lot of time and energy to the event.


Stage 2 of the race starts in Ste. Genevieve and ends in Cape Girardeau. Stage 3 starts in Farmington.

Here's the Video:


Lt. Gov. Kinder talks Tour of Missouri

St. Louis Mayor Slay Supports the Tour!

Thank you, Mayor Slay!!!

via Twitter:

RT @mayorslay You say bike race. I say major economic impact, international notice, promotion of cycling.

News-Press: City waits to learn fate of tour

by Alyson E. Raletz

An internationally acclaimed bicycle race that is set to roll through St. Joseph and Chillicothe in September could come to a quick halt, depending on Gov. Jay Nixon’s next move.


Less than two months away from the Tour of Missouri’s Sept. 7 gun start in St. Louis, the Department of Economic Development is recommending a cut of $1.5 million to the race. If Mr. Nixon agrees, the financial blow could seriously jeopardize the race and likely result in a cancellation.


“We had no idea there was any hint this was a possibility, so yeah, this was a shock,” said Dick Sipe, chairman of the St. Joseph Local Organizing Committee for Stage 6 of the tour, which is scheduled to run from Chillicothe to St. Joseph on Sept. 12. The full tour ends Sept. 13 in Kansas City.


The group already has spent $15,000 of its roughly $100,000 budget, but now is hesitant to follow through with the advertising and marketing expenses it planned on making in the next month.


A spokesman for Mr. Nixon told The Associated Press he wouldn’t make a decision for several more weeks.


“We’re reluctant to do anything,” Mr. Sipe said. “You can’t let something of this size just hang there. We’ve got money committed.”


Andy Clements, assistant director of public works for the city, feared the question mark could scare off international sponsors of a race that gives Missouri and St. Joseph unparalleled exposure.


“Even making that announcement really hurts the tour,” said Mr. Clements, who handles tour arrangements for the city.


Still, the news hasn’t deterred local sponsors, such as Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica and Heartland Health.


“It’s unfortunate this is happening, but we can’t sit back and wait and see what happens,” said Dan Nowalk of Boehringer. “This is a great opportunity. We don’t want to let it slip by.”


Local organizers said that while they won’t pull the trigger on much funding until a decision is made, they will continue to plan under the assumption it will go on as scheduled.


But athletes an ocean away from Missouri on Friday weren’t so confident.


Christian Vande Velde, winner of last year’s Tour of Missouri and top five finisher in last year’s Tour de France, posted a message to his Twitter account Friday just hours after completing a mountain stage at the Tour de France.


“The Tour of Missouri is in trouble. Please help this great race survive,” Mr. Vande Velde wrote, placing a link to the tour’s Web site after his message.


George Hincapie, the 2007 Tour of Missouri winner, also found time to “tweet” Friday:

“http://savethetourofmissour... lets try (sic) and save this race ...,” wrote Mr. Hincapie, who was also competing in the Tour of France during his afternoon entry.


The Missouri Tourism Commission met Friday to try to do just that. Commissioners voted unanimously to reaffirm its stance to fully fund the state’s more than $3 million obligation to the Tour, according to a news release.


Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder also appointed Marci Bennett, a tourism commissioner and executive director of the St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau, to lead a budget subcommittee to help address the possible withholdings to the tourism budget.


Mr. Kinder in October announced the tour’s Stage One — the race’s kickoff — translated into $703,332 in tourist spending and 4,200 visitors to St. Joseph in September 2008, the first time St. Joseph was selected as a host city.


An estimated 434,000 spectators combined watched the seven-day race at some point. Total economic impact was pegged at $29.8 million.


Local organizers have written Rep. Ed Wildberger, a St. Joseph Democrat, to help convince the governor to release the funding, but he said he didn’t plan on trying to persuade Gov. Nixon’s decision.


“We have to look realistically at the economic status of the state right now,” Mr. Wildberger said. “You can’t do away with the essentials to have an extravagant event.”


Sen. Brad Lager, whose district includes Chillicothe, said as a former legislative budget chairman, he understood the financial challenges state government faces, but he disagreed with the department’s recommendation.


He likened cutting the $1.5 million from roughly $7 billion in the state’s general revenue to a household that earns $50,000, trying to save $10.71 in its budget.


“Considering the contracts are all let ... it would be an irresponsible act to withhold those dollars,” said Mr. Lager, a Savannah Republican. “Ten dollars and 71 cents. I mean, are you serious?”


Meanwhile Friday, Debbie Flugrad, a St. Joseph bicycle enthusiast, watched coverage of the Tour de France, where she said she frequently heard references to the Tour of Missouri.


“It’s just mind-boggling to me that they would not want this event,” Ms. Flugrad said. “More people, more regular people follow this than you think.”

KYTV: Budget cut could cancel Tour of Missouri

By David Catanese, KY3 Political Reporter
SPRINGFIELD -- Missouri's big bike race could be in peril due to a recommended cut by Governor Jay Nixon.

The 3rd Annual Tour of Missouri is in danger of being cancelled just three months before the start date. Now tourism advocates are gearing up to save it.

On Friday, the state's tourism commission signaled it wants the race to go on and questioned if the Governor has the right to restrict how it spends its money. Some fear if the race isn't saved this year, it may not be back again.

It's been billed as the largest sporting event in Missouri, attracting more than 400,000 spectators for a race that features international cyclists. But the bike race has turned into a political football between the Democratic Governor and Republican Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder.

Gov. Nixon has frozen $1.5 million dollars in state tourism funds, or about 40 percent of the race's total funding.

"I do note that in these challenging budget times we have to make some difficult decisions," Nixon said in Springfield Thursday, in a vague reference to funding for the Tour.

But to Kinder, who brought the Tour to Missouri and the Ozarks, it's an investment worth $30 million dollars of economic activity to the state. Kinder is arguing that pulling the plug just months before the September race would ruin the state's tourism reputation and cost money.

"It doesn't seem to me to be a good business practice to incur all kinds of lawsuits will result from breach of contract when you do it inside 60 days before the start of the race," Kinder told KMOX radio in St. Louis Thursday.

The overall economic impact of the Tour has been questioned by skeptics who believe the $30 million dollar boom is widely inflated.

The economic contribution of the race to the state may be impossible to completely quantify.
But Rusty Worley, of the Urban Districts Alliance, thinks a cancellation this year could jeopardize future races in Missouri.

"Any time an event falls off the schedule for whatever reason it leaves somewhat in doubt, as to someone else might pick it up," said Worley, who helped organize Springfield's leg of the 2008 race.

Kinder's team is ramping up pressure to save the tour, encouraging phone calls to the Governor's office and using Twitter to rally support for their cause.

But in the end, the final leg of this race may be determined by a Governor who ribbed the event during a campaign stop last year -- on the very day the race came through Springfield.

"Thank you . . . 75 people on a beautiful day that could be out watching Belgians ride bicycles in your town . . . are here," Nixon said to laughs to conclude his remarks at the Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

BREAKING: Flashback...Nixon Mocks Tour of Missouri

FLASHBACK: Candidate Nixon Ribs Tour

by Dave Catanese

THE LOOK ON HIS FACE? PRICELESS.


Jay Nixon never showed much affection for the Tour of Missouri -- even as a candidate.


From The Notebook Video Library: Here's Nixon ribbing the tour at a Chamber of Commerce gathering on September 9, 2008 -- the same day the Tour was winding through Springfield.


In his closing remarks, the Governor-to-be thanks the packed house for attending his event:


"Thank you . . . 75 people on a beautiful day that could be out watching Belgians ride bicycles in your town . . . (laughter) . . . are here."

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:

http://ky3.blogspot.com/2009/07/flashback-candidate-nixon-ribs-tour.html

Kansas City Star Editorial: Don't cancel Tour of Missouri bike race

By The Kansas City Star Editorial Board


Canceling the Tour of Missouri bike race is a bad idea. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon should release the funds.


The suggestion was perhaps understandable: The Department of Economic Development needed budget cuts, and $1.5 million for a bike race might look like a luxury in tough times.


But the timing is horrible, so close to the September event. Canceling the race could expose the state to unnecessary litigation.The race is one of only two top-level bike races in the United States. It showcases Missouri to the region, nation and world.


And it’s just building its reputation, as racers approach the third annual event.Bicyclists including Lance Armstrong’s racing team and five other teams now competing in the Tour de France are expected.


A study of the economic impact of the race last year estimated 430,000 spectators spent almost $30 million, attracting tourists from 32 states and 21 countries. That’s a good return on a $1.5 million investment.


State economic development officials insist their priorities these days have to be focused on job creation. But an event that attracts a worldwide television audience is a priceless advertisement for Missouri, a boost to tourism, and that means jobs.


Organizers believe in coming years that private sponsors will replace state investment, which now covers half the cost. That’s the right approach going forward.


Republican Lt. Gov. Pete Kinder is a big backer of the race. If this is a Democratic slap at one of the state’s high-profile Republicans, as some suspect, it’s shameful.


Bottom line, the Tour of Missouri is a boon for our beautiful state. Canceling is a losing idea.

Business Journal: Tourism board reaffirms commitment to Tour of Missouri

by Kelsey Volkmann St. Louis Business Journal


The Missouri Tourism Commission voted Friday to reaffirm its commitment to fund the Tour of Missouri.

But Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration still has the final say on funding for the cycling event, a Nixon aide said.

With the race two months away, Nixon’s economic development director Linda Martinez proposed cutting $1.5 million in state funding for the event, putting it in jeopardy.

The event has a $3.3 million budget that relies on $1.5 million from the state, with the rest coming from private sponsors, including Anheuser-Busch, Drury Hotels and Edward Jones.

State budget director Linda Luebbering will review Martinez’s budget recommendations, John Fougere, a spokesman for Martinez, said Thursday.

The race is slated to start Sept. 7 in St. Louis and end Sept. 13 in Kansas City.

The 2008 Tour of Missouri drew an estimated 434,000 spectators at some time during the event, having a total economic impact of $29.8 million, up from $26.2 million in 2007. The figures are according to an economic impact study conducted by German-based sports marketing and research firm IFM, which has its domestic base in St. Louis.

News-Leader: Tourism Commission sticks with Tour of Missouri

By Chad Livengood Springfield News-Leader

The Missouri Tourism Commission voted 7-0 today to maintain $1.5 million in funding for the Tour of Missouri bicycle race, despite the fact Gov. Jay Nixon's administration has frozen funds for the international sporting event in September.

In a conference call, many of the commissioners said the independent panel has an obligation to fund the Tour of Missouri this year, but future years would be subject to further debate.

"We as a commission have made this decision and we have to stand by it," said Tourism Commissioner Marci Bennett of St. Joseph.

Nixon's Department of Economic Development has recommended the governor's budget office withhold $1.5 million from the Division of Tourism specifically for the bicycle race that's heavily promoted by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican and de facto critic of the Democratic governor.

“It seems like this is a tug of war between the governor’s office and Tourism,” said Commissioner Kelly Swanson, owner of the Port of Kimberling marina and campground on Table Rock Lake.

In April, the Missouri Tourism Commission voted in favor of contributing $1.5 million of its approximately $24 million budget to promoting the bicycle race.

In order to spare the race, Tour of Missouri officials say they need reassurances from Nixon's office that the funding will not be cut by next Friday.

At issue is the Nixon administration ordering the Division of Tourism to submit all expenditures to DED officials for prior approval.Unlike most state agencies, the Division of Tourism is directed by the autonomous Missouri Tourism Commission.Kinder, who chairs the commission, and his general counsel, Rich AuBuchon, said the Nixon administration's restrictions against the Tourism Division is "unprecedented" in state government.

“I am unaware of any other division in state government that has that kind of restriction put on them,” said Kinder, a second-term statewide officeholder and former state senator.

AuBuchon later added: "This type of action is unprecedented and I believe usurps the power of the commission."

Some commissioners hinted that the Tourism Commission is being targeted by Nixon for a political fight with Kinder.

“I do find its strange that we’re the only agency being scrutinized through the voucher system,” Swanson said. “If they’re going to do it, they need to do it to all of the agencies."

Katie Steele Danner, the new deputy director of DED, told the commission the spending restrictions were in response to the governor's mandate that all state departments cut a total of $60 million from the 2010 budget Nixon signed into law last month.

“I have been ensured that this is a temporary situation until we can get our arms the expenditure restriction challenges,” said Danner, who is from Hollister.

Danner said she needed to collect additional information about how much the state subsidizes the Tour of Missouri and who controls the money.

Bob Smith, director of the Division of Tourism, said his agency turns over the $1.5 million to Tour of Missouri Inc., a nonprofit set up by Kinder's office to manage the race in conjunction with a private contractor.The Missouri Development Finance Board, which Kinder used to chair until Nixon took office in January, also contributed $500,000 to the Tour of Missouri from fees it receives for selling tax credits to major developers, Kinder said.

With less than 60 days until the 12-city professional bicycle race begins, Kinder and commissioners pleaded with Danner to get the governor to spare the Tour of Missouri from his budget ax as soon as possible.

Canceling the race this close to the start, Kinder said, "destroys the credibility of the Division of Tourism and the state of Missouri if this goes forward.”

Associated Press: Tourism Signals Support for Tour of Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Tourism Commission has reaffirmed its support for the Tour of Missouri bicycle race in the face of a potential state budget cut.

Gov. Jay Nixon's administration has frozen $1.5 million of tourism funding intended for the race and is considering whether to eliminate the money to help balance the state budget.

Organizers say that would force the cancellation of the September bicycle race.

At a meeting Thursday, members of the state Tourism Commission questioned whether Nixon's administration has the legal authority to control how it spends its money. Commissioners voted to reaffirm their $1.5 million commitment to the race.

Nixon budget director Linda Luebbering said the potential Tour of Missouri cut remains under review.

http://ky3.blogspot.com/2009/07/tourism-signals-support-for-tour-of.html

Star: Tourism to governor: Pay me my money down

by Jason Noble

Kansas City Star


JEFFERSON CITY The Missouri Tourism Commission voted unanimously this afternoon reemphasize its commitment to the Tour of Missouri bicycle race.


Implicit in the vote was a plea to Gov. Jay Nixon to release a hold on state funding for the event. The hold, which restricts the state's Division of Tourism from paying its $1.5 million share of race costs, was put into place Wednesday, shortly after the funds were identified as a possible budget cut .


Organizers of the $3.3 million tour have said cutting the state contribution would submarine the event less than two months before it's scheduled to begin. That could open the state and tour organizers to breach-of-contract lawsuits, leave spectators, cycling teams and sponsors in a lurch and cost the state economy tens of millions of dollars in lost revenues, they say.


The Nixon administration has said it is reviewing numerous cuts, of which the tour funding is one, and has made no final decisions.


If the hold was removed, the commission could pay $1.5 million upon request to Tour of Missouri Inc., the organization that officials runs the event.


The commission's vote from this afternoon doesn't carry any authority, but telegraphs members' frustration with the delay and possible cut.


Much of the conference call in which the vote took place was spent discussing similarly symbolic acts and airing discontent with the Nixon administration's actions.


Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the commission chairman also pledged to call the Nixon personally on the matter.


Nixon is a Democrat and Kinder is a Republican. Political antagonism between the two appears to be at least somewhat at play in the current situation.


At one point in the free-flowing and at times stream-of-consciousness meeting, Kinder warned of the negatives facing the state if officials indeed pulled the plug on the tour:


"It destroys the credibility of the Tourism commission and the state of Missouri, in my opinion, if this goes forward" he said.


Also on the call, the tour backers seemed to pick up an ally in Katie Steele Danner, a deputy director in the state Department of Economic Development who said she would advocate for the tour to the administration officials who control its fate.


Danner is one of the DED officials whose name appears on a memo to budget officials proposing the cut.

Post-Dispatch: Tour of Missouri gets support of tourism commission

By Tony Messenger
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
JEFFERSON CITY — The Tour of Missouri is likely to roll on in September, but a dispute over how state money is spent to support the September bike race is simmering beneath the surface.

Today, the Missouri Tourism Commission voted 7-0 to make cuts elsewhere in its budget rather than to sacrifice the $1.5 million dedicated to the tour. Commission members said the race is too important to economic development in the state, and it’s too close to its start, to cancel it now.

Ultimately, the question over whether to cancel the race belongs with the Tour of Missouri, Inc., a non-profit organization set up by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder to run the bike race. It’s the non-profit, and not the state, that has contracts to produce the race, and officials from the administration of Gov. Jay Nixon want to know how the money is being spent.

Earlier this week, Nixon budget director Linda Luebbering told tourism director Bob Smith that the state would not approve the $1.5 million payment to Tour of Missouri, Inc. And in a memo to Luebbering, economic development director Linda Martinez recommended that the funding be cut from the budget.

Nixon is facing a budget shortfall because of declining state revenue and he’s asked every state department to propose millions of dollars in cuts.

When the memo was made public, Kinder and others began a full-fledged public relations campaign to convince Nixon to keep the Tour of Missouri money in the budget. Nixon spokesman Jack Cardetti said the decision hasn’t been made yet.

On a conference call today during a tourism commission meeting, one of Martinez; deputies, Katie Steele Danner, told the commission that the governor’s office is seeking more information on the Tour of Missouri contracts before it approves the money.

“I am very interested in getting the information from you to help me make your case,” Danner said. Both she and her husband, Adjutant General Steve Danner of the Missouri National Guard, volunteered on the first race three years ago. “I’m just trying to get my arms around the structure of this,” Danner said.

Kinder and other commission members, including state Sen. Jack Goodman, R-Mt. Vernon, said the race is too important to cancel.