House Speaker Tim Jones issued the following statement in response to Governor Nixon’s decision to withhold $400 million from the fiscal year 2014 state operating budget:

“The governor has clearly violated his constitutional authority by withholding funding in a year where we have a significant budget surplus. This is nothing more than a politically-motivated stunt that places Missouri families and children at risk by needlessly cutting critical education funding in an attempt to generate controversy over a common sense tax reduction bill for all Missourians. I am deeply disappointed that the governor would attempt to make Missourians his pawns in a game of political chess as he tries to force the hand of the legislature. The bottom line is that we sent the governor a balanced budget with record-high funding for education, despite his constant waffling and maneuvers to work against his own budget recommendations. If the governor takes the Missouri Constitution seriously, he should respect the budget-making authority of the legislature, put an end to this farce, and follow the fiscally-responsible spending plan we sent him,” said Jones, R-Eureka.