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Senator Criticizes Printing Missouri ‘Blue Book’

The 2009-2010 Official Manual of the State of Missouri, also known as the “Blue Book,” will be unveiled Tuesday in Jefferson City. The book is published every two years by the Secretary of State and one state senator says publishing it is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars. KSMU’s Katie Easley has this report.

The Missouri “Blue Book” contains information about Missouri government and is required by law to be published every two years.

But Missouri Senator Kevin Engler says spending tax dollars on this “blue book” is a waste of money and has filed legislation in the past to get rid of the requirement. Engler says the printing of the books is free advertising for other politicians, because part of the book is devoted to elected officials.

“It’s great advertising. You get to go to your best bankers and best supporters and give them a blue book year after year so they have this whole library of blue books to show how important they are that they get blue books from the state,” says Engler.

Engler says it costs half a million dollars to print the books. He adds that all the information found in the “Blue Book” can be found on the internet, and during these tough economic times it is wasteful to spend money on printing bound books.

“We’re firing people and were going through the worst budget crisis but we have money to print these blue books to give to just certain select people in the district,” says Engler.

Laura Egerdal, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan’s office, says the majority of the “Blue Book” contains information on state government and not about elected officials. Egerdal says Carnahan’s office is just following state law.

“We would be more than happy to work wit the general assembly to see if there is a way to save taxpayers dollars even further while making sure this information really gets out into the hands of Missourians who deserve to have this information about their government,” says Egerdal.

Egerdal estimates that the state has already spent around $300,000 on publishing the “Blue Book” this year, but that the overall cost will be higher.

For KSMU News, I’m Katie Easley.