Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-St. Louis County, said it was inappropriate for the Democratic chief executiveto bill state agencies for travel he conducts--even if it's on their behalf."The governor is asking these departments to tighten the belt in a number of areas but whenever he wants to go somewhere, he just has them pay for it," Silvey said.
Earlier this year, The Associated Press reported that funds appropriated to state agencies had been tapped to fund the governor's travel costs -- including $80,000 from the budget of the Department of Economic Development.Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia and a member of the Budget Committee, argued the concern is overblown.
"I think it's not a very serious problem. Would it be better if all the governor's travel was in one place? Yes, it would be. But his travel has a specific benefit sometimes to those agencies," Kelly said.
Kelly argued that the governor's billing of travel to various state agencies was standard practice among governors and that there were more pressing issues facing the committee.
Silvey said he'd like to see the governor only use the money specifically allocated in his office's annual travel budget in the interests of transparency.
"I don't care if the governor travels. He certainly should have the opportunity to travel," Silvey said. "But it should be transparent to the public when he travels and how much it costs."