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.

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