Potential Lease-Breaking Raises Questions for the State

April 2, 2006 - Posted at 12:32 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri lawmakers could be close to

making dubious history -- the first time the state government has

broken a lease by not paying its rent.

Governor Blunt has pushed for the state to get out of a 15-year

lease it signed in 2001 for office space in St. Louis. Officials

say the rent is too high and they haven't been able to get the

landlord to lower the rent or sell the building at a reasonable

price.

The House has already approved a budget lacking the

one-point-three million lease payment. A Senate committee is

now considering a similar move.

Experts are divided on whether breaking the lease will hurt the

state's credit rating and make it harder to lease space in the

future.

Landowner Charles Hennemeyer says his rent is in line for

similar office space in the area.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)