Nixon signs Mo. budget and makes cuts

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed the Fiscal Year 2010 state budget into law, but he also used the line-item veto to cut $105 million out of it.

Most of the cuts came from a capital improvement projects bill. They include cutting $24.7 million out of a statewide radio system for emergency responders, which will now make do with only $87 million.

Nixon says the state has to tighten its belt.

"These fiscally responsible steps are necessary to insure that Missourians have a government we can afford without raising taxes and without sacrificing our shared priorities of education, health care, and jobs," Nixon said.

The director of the Missouri Republican Party blasted the governor in a press release, saying the crisis could have been avoided if the budget had been properly managed.

Other Republicans were more sympathetic, pointing out that state revenues have continued to deteriorate.

Gary Nodler (R, Joplin) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"In the last two months, we've gone from a negative 2.5 percent or thereabouts revenue figure to nearly 6 percent negative...that's a huge drop in revenues," Nodler said.

Governor Nixon also froze an additional $325 million, but he says that it could later be unfrozen if revenues turn around and exceed expectations.

The $105 million cut from the budget also includes:

$16.5 million in MOHELA college construction projects

$12.6 million in ethanol funding beyond FY 2011

$12.4 million for care management and participant case management

$10 million for a highway project in Jefferson City for access to the old state prison site

$5 million for community college maintenance and repair increase

$3.5 million for a Medicaid rate increase for dentists.

The $325 million frozen for use at this time includes:

$91.3 million for remaining MOHELA projects, including a new cancer research facility at the University of Missouri-Columbia

$60 million for salaries, expenses, contracts and grants

$50 million for the Missouri Job Creation Fund

$47.8 million for maintenance and repair for state buildings

$21.5 million for an in-home provider rate increase

$16.1 million for various Veteran's Homes projects

$12.2 million for various Dept. of Natural Resources projects.