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Gov. Mike Parson freezes $47 million in spending from Missouri budget

Gov. Mike Parson freezes $47 million in spending from Missouri budget

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$6 billion coronavirus spending plan heading to Missouri governor's desk

Missouri state senators, some wearing gloves and surgical masks in effort to protect themselves and others form the spread of the coronavirus, recite the pledge of allegiance at the start of session on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, in the Senate at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City. (Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com)

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Mike Parson said Monday he would withhold $47 million in spending from the state budget as unemployment rises and tax revenues suffer.

The cuts announced Monday are in addition to about $180 million in budget restrictions Parson announced earlier this month.

The governor, during his daily press briefing, said the cuts would affect nine state agencies, the attorney general’s office and the Legislature.

“These are not easy decisions,” Parson said. “And they are not made lightly, but this is the right thing to do to ensure our budget is balanced and we are financially prepared to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 moving forward.”

After the briefing, his office issued a news release naming the affected agencies: the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, Office of Administration, Department of Revenue, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Mental Health, Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Social Services and the Department of Economic Development, among others.

Also Monday, Sandra Karsten, director of the state Department of Public Safety, said the state had resolved disputes with three companies the state had placed orders with for protective masks.

“As of this morning, the third and final vendor offered SEMA (State Emergency Management Agency) a refund for the KN95 masks,” Karsten said.

The first two companies refunded the payments, but a third firm, NMS LLC, had balked, Karsten told the Columbia Daily Tribune on Friday.

The newspaper said the limited-liability company was organized March 20 by Brian McGovern of the Chesterfield law firm McCarthy, Leonard and Kaemmerer, according to records held by the Secretary of State’s office. Its ownership is unknown, and McGovern did not respond to an inquiry, the Tribune said.

In the dispute with the state, NMS was represented by the St. Louis law firm Dowd Bennett, whose partner, former Gov. Jay Nixon, participated in at least one meeting with state officials who were seeking the $9 million refund, the Tribune reported, citing sources.

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