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      Budget bickering continues at the Capitol

      Governor Jay Nixon said he is prepared to lay off workers and curtail motor vehicle services in the Revenue Department in response to a legislative move to withhold funding.

      Governor Jay Nixon said he is prepared to lay off workers and curtail motor vehicle services in the Revenue Department in response to a legislative move to withhold funding.

      The announcement triggered an angry response by the Senate's top budget-writing officer.

      Nixon told Capitol reporters that lawmakers were acting irresponsibly by advancing a budget that would fund the motor vehicles division for only the first two-thirds of the fiscal year.

      "They leave me no choice," he said. "I will reduce staff and services accordingly, including making the necessary layoffs, effective July 1."

      House and Senate budget negotiators cut the funding Tuesday to force the administration to stop making electronic copies of personal documents of people applying for driver's licenses. They said lawmakers could provide the rest of the money when they return to the capitol next January, assuming the administration ends the scanning policy.

      "There was a lot of dissatisfaction on both the House and the Senate side with how the Department of Revenue was operating with the scanning of documents," House budget chairman and Republican representative Rick Stream said. "So that was a compromise to put 'em on notice that they need to change what they were doing."

      But Nixon called the partial-year funding unprecedented, saying he would treat it as an annual appropriation and cut accordingly.

      Senate budget chairman Kurt Schaefer told reporters the decision would not be changed. He also called out the governor for refusing to answer reporters' questions Wednesday morning.

      "It took us three months to get the truth out of the Department of Revenue," Schaefer said. "They were doing things that were in violation of several provisions of state law, and the budget is the only control we have over that. There is absolutely no reason for the governor to lay anyone off. If he chooses to do that, that's solely his own choosing."

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