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Missouri treasurer: Don’t be like Illinois

State Treasurer Eric Schmitt

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt is offering strong criticism of the state budget _ of another state.

The first-term Republican on Tuesday spoke at a news conference along the Mississippi River in St. Louis, urging Missouri lawmakers to avoid the pitfalls that have befallen neighboring Illinois.

Illinois is considering a spending plan that would significantly increase taxes due to a severe budget shortfall.

Schmitt said Missouri lawmakers must act now to avoid a similar crisis in the future. He says Missouri has a pension liability that could eventually result in severe cuts of services and higher taxes.

He also said the state must work to protect its AAA credi rating and continue to shrink the size of government.