No refunds this year: Mo. again under Hancock Amendment revenue limit | St. Louis Public Radio

No refunds this year: Mo. again under Hancock Amendment revenue limit

Mar 29, 2012

The state of Missouri has stayed within a constitutional revenue limit for the 12th budget year in a row.

State auditor Tom Schweich released the yearly report on the Hancock amendment today. That amendment, passed in 1980, uses a mathematical formula to set a limit on the amount of personal income that can be used to fund the operations of state government. Any amount above that limit must be refunded to Missouri residents.

The audit found that in the budget year that ended June 30, 2011, the state was almost $4 billion under the refund threshold, which was about $12 billion. The last time Missouri exceeded the limit was 1999.

Schweich's office also found that the state complied with a second provision of the Hancock Amendment that limits the amount by which lawmakers can raise taxes without a vote of the people. The report says that the net amount of taxes and fees actually decreased by $98.1 million in fiscal year 2011.

The report comes amid debate over the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The current major dispute centers on a Republican plan to increase funding for higher education by eliminating a health care program for the blind. Several Democratic lawmakers have called for higher taxes on cigarettes to boost revenue instead of continually looking for places to cut.