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Holden Criticizes Republicans for Cutting Vacant Jobs


By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis – Missouri Governor Bob Holden blasted Republican lawmakers Friday for cutting vacant positions at state schools for the blind, deaf and severely handicapped.

Holden says a budget bill moving through the legislature would eliminate funding for 48 positions at the schools.

He calls the cuts "callous and wrong-headed."

"Let me assure you: these positions are needed," Holden said. "Did it not occur to Representative Bearden and the others on the committee that these positions may be open because they are difficult jobs to fill? These students have demanding health care needs."

The chairman of the House Budget Committee, Representative Carl Bearden of St. Charles, says lawmakers were careful in cutting close to 600 out of 3,500 total vacant state positions.

"By keeping vacant positions open does not change the pay, does not change the working conditions, and does not fill the jobs," Bearden said. "And so that's why we took a longer term look at how long they've been open and if they'd been open for quite some time, those positions will not be easily filled and will not be in the immediate future and so we were able to take that money and use it in other areas of the budget."