Budget cuts, Greitens’ indictment causes chaos in the House


Photo courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Gov. Eric Greitens was booked and processed by the St. Louis police on February 22. 

Missouri governor Eric Greitens made national headlines last week when he was indicted on charges of felony invasion of privacy and booked in his hometown of St. Louis. The charges stem from allegations that he photographed a woman with whom he was having an affair in a state of partial nudity without her consent, then threatened to release the photo if she told anyone of their indiscretions. The charges relating to the 2015 incident were filed by the St. Louis Circuit Court after an investigation spanning several weeks.

Phill Brooks, the Webmaster of the Missouri Digital News service and a longtime statehouse reporter, explained that though the House is moving toward impeachment, the budget is still a concern.

“The problem is that the budget situation makes deep cuts a necessity and higher education frequently is one of the easy places in which to make cuts,” said Brooks.

He further explained that entitlement programs like Medicaid are protected under the 14th Amendment, and therefore cannot be cut. Welfare and prison budgets are also among those that cannot be reduced.

“Some areas to cut are political no-goes, like repealing business or income tax cuts or cutting tax credits to politically influential developers,” Brooks explained. “Besides, repealing those recent deep tax cuts would require statewide voter approval before taking effect. Because tax credits can be redeemed years after issued, the first year of a tax-credit cut would not generate much.”

However, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported last week that due to an influx of federal funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, the money that the state set aside for this program could be used to fill in the gaps created by Gov. Greitens’ 2019 budget.

As reported by the Columbia Daily Tribune, Republican Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick said, “It’s going to be significant.”

However, coverage of Greitens’ budget cuts have left the headlines since his indictment last week. The Missouri House of Representatives announced that they have formed a committee to investigate his crimes. If they find him guilty and recommend impeachment, then the issue will go to the Senate. If Greitens is impeached, Lieutenant Gov. Mike Parsons will assume the role of governor.