Patrick Eckelkamp
Any time people actively discuss the Missouri budget, I get excited. When it happens to be the editorial board of the biggest newspaper in Missouri and the governor himself — well, it just doesn't get any better than that. In an article yesterday (link via Combest) Gov. Matt Blunt responded to the Post-Dispatch's recent editorial criticizing his handling of the Missouri budget. While I've accepted the fact that both camps are probably manipulating some numbers to make their case, the article still makes for an interesting read. I encourage everyone to check out the linked article and make the decision for themselves.

I am going to go out on a limb here, and say that the governor probably has a better understanding of the state budget than the Post-Dispatch editorial board does. To me, it appears that he does an excellent job of explaining the budget and what the numbers actually mean. Particularly, he is right to point out that using 2001 as a base year to explain K–12 education funding is extremely misleading. As most Missourians are aware, former Gov. Bob Holden had just come into office in 2001 — which has nothing to do with current funding for education. Gov. Blunt goes on to explain that since he came in to office, K-12 education funding has actually increased by 17.2 percent.

In this editorial war of words, the Post-Dispatch fired the first shot — but the governor stood his ground and fired right back, explaining the state budget in-depth and providing a level of analysis that the Post-Dispatch was lacking. In my humble opinion, I think Gov. Blunt deserves some credit for what he has been able to do with the the state budget during the past four years. Some people may not agree with me, but, hey — that's all right. At least people are talking about the budget.

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Patrick Eckelkamp