JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - During Monday’s news conference at the Capitol, Gov. Eric Greitens maneuvered reporters’ questions regarding the 2015 extramarital affair and the current criminal investigation to talk about his nearly $28 billion budget plan that would slice at least $68 million from public colleges and universities.
Greitens is also asking for around $48 million dollars less than what's called for under state law to full fund K-12 public schools.
Democrats responded within minutes after the governor’s presentation. House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, said, “Until the Republicans who control state government fix the structural problems they have inflicted on Missouri's finances, the state will continue to stumble from one budget crisis to the next with no hope for progress in sight."
Even some lawmakers in the governor's own Republican Party aren't too happy with the planned cuts.
Senator Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said, “It's disappointing. I was always frustrated with how little it seem like our former Governor Nixon cared about higher education. I was hoping that would change and it doesn't seem that has up until now. So you know, the Senate and the House are going to put together budgets that we think are more reflective of Missourians priorities. And I hope that includes more money for our education.”
Greitens has had very limited and selective interaction with the public and media since the Jan. 15 revelation of his admitted affair with his then-hairdresser in 2015, and allegations of blackmail. He made a statement regarding the controversies but did not directly answer repeated questions from reporters over whether allegations that he took a partially nude photo of the woman are true. He has denied allegations of blackmail.