Missouri's new governor says economy will force budget cuts

Missouri Gov.-elect Jay Nixon on Wednesday began laying the groundwork for midyear budget cuts by calling for financial reviews of all state agencies, long-term contracts and tax-credit programs.

Nixon announced a five-point plan to review state expenditures a day after his top budget adviser projected a $342 million shortfall in the current fiscal year's budget, resulting from an economic downturn "like none that we have ever seen in the past."

The state had expected to end the year with a $281 million surplus.

"The national economic climate has had a devastating impact on Missouri's economy. We must take bold action to make government smaller, more efficient and more responsive," said Nixon, a Democrat.

Although he did not identify specific projects or programs that might be cut, Nixon said that upon taking office Jan. 12, he would direct all state agencies and departments to review their budgets and submit financial "action plans." At the same time, he will appoint independent teams to review department budgets.

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