JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Following recent reports, the Missouri Lieutenant Governor is clearing up any confusion: he is not asking for a personal driver in his office’s 2019 fiscal year budget request.
On January 30, the Lt. Gov’s Office presented their budget before the House Budget Committee, asking for an additional $50,000 to their budget.
That led to reports from several media outlets stating that he wanted a driver, which Lt. Gov. Mike Parson says is not the case.
The additional budget request would be a total of $50,000, which would be split in half: $25,000 for legal fees throughout the year and $25,000 for a part-time employee.
According to a news release from the Lt. Gov’s Office, the part-time employee would handle various office duties as well as assist the Lieutenant Governor in his travels.
“The Office of Lieutenant Governor employs six full-time employees,” the release stated. “It currently is the smallest staff of any statewide office. One of the goals of the Office of Lieutenant Governor is to transform the office by increasing its presence.”
The office noted that in 2017 the Lt. Gov. and his staff attended more than 200 events across the state.
“It is important to the Office of Lieutenant Governor to take the time to visit these communities to understand concerns and keep them informed on the issues facing Missouri,” Parson said.
As for the additional $25,000 for legal fees, that would be used in the event of any legal advice or assistance being needed. During the course of the first year in office, Parson’s office needed such legal assistance in their investigation of the St. Louis Veterans Home and their ‘Buy Missouri’ program.
Noting that all of the House Budget Committee proceedings are recorded and streamed live online, the Lt. Gov. said it was important that information be “accurately reported and perceived correctly.”
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.