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Mo. Tourism Commission backs Tour of Missouri

(UPI file photo)

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – In a non-binding unanimous vote this afternoon, the Missouri Tourism Commission renewed its support for the Tour of Missouri professional bicycle race.

The commission met in response to the Department of Economic Development's recommendation that the state withhold $1.5 million in funding for the event.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, who chairs the Tourism Commission, told commission members that the move would destroy the credibility of the state of Missouri and the Division of Tourism.

"It will not, I repeat, it will not save the state $1.5 million...we will be out money in legal settlements, legal fees, paying vendors who will demand payment in any case," Kinder said.

The vote of support also formally asks Governor Jay Nixon not to withhold funding.

Scott Holste is Nixon's Press Secretary.

"In these almost unprecedented budget times, we've got to look at what Missouri can afford in order to keep basic essential services running, like education and health care, and not raise taxes," Holste said.

Holste also says a final decision may not come for a few weeks, although other sources say it could happen next week.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Commission has another meeting scheduled Monday, during which they may explore alternate funding options designed to keep the 2009 Tour of Missouri alive.