Gov. Mike Parson is now detailing the reasons why he made several line-item vetoes to Missouri’s fiscal year 2019 state budget, which took effect this month.
The state constitution requires that vetoes of bills or budget line items be accompanied by a letter alerting the Legislature of each veto, and why it was made. While Parson issued explanations for the two standard bills and one resolution he vetoed, he initially did not for the budget cuts.
But on Thursday his office issued a follow-up letter to Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, explaining the 18 line-item vetoes. They include shrinking the size of a spending increase for Harris-Stowe University from $750,000 down to $250,000. The letter was written by Parson’s legislative director Justin Alferman, a former Republican state representative from Hermann.
“Harris-Stowe University’s one-time allocation is not an adequate solution for an ongoing problem,” Alferman said. “We are committed to finding a long-term solution to the university’s funding needs.”
Parson also vetoed $153,546 for the Department of Health and Senior Services’ Time-Critical Diagnosis System, which helps get patients to the appropriate-care hospital. Parson said the program’s costs can be absorbed into the department’s overall budget.
But that line-item veto was strongly opposed this week by members of the House budget committee, who said the funding was necessary to keep the program afloat. There’s no word yet if House budget chair Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, will push lawmakers to override the veto in September.
Parson also vetoed the entire $1 million in funding for the Department of Natural Resources’ Contaminated Home-Acquisition Program, which was created for affected residents near the Bridgeton Landfill.
“Recent actions in an agreement with the attorney general’s office and owners of the Bridgeton Landfill ensure that remediation and cleanup efforts will occur, leaving this appropriation unnecessary,” Alferman said.
Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport