budget

Members of the House and Senate budget committees hash out their differences earlier this year. While the budgetary process in Missouri isn't always pretty, it's a picnic compared to what's going in Kansas and Illinois.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

Missouri lawmakers just wrapped up an, um, unusual legislative session. But they did manage to avoid some pitfalls that have recently plagued Kansas and Illinois, including:

St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5 p.m. with comments from Mayor Slay.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said Wednesday he's found a way to fund 160 additional police officers over the next two years, plus get money for proven crime prevention programs and more training for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

"We can do things like look for more efficiencies, and do hiring freezes, things like that, but it's not going to raise the necessary dollars to hire that many cops," Slay said. "Cops are very expensive, but it's money well-spent."  

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch
Courtesy of Bob McCulloch's office

The St. Louis County Council gave final approval to its 2014 budget, keeping most of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s recommendations.

But the council did make funding changes at the request of St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Some money will go to adding staffers for a diversion program aimed at keeping first-time offenders out of prison.

(via Flickr/David_Shane)

Missouri auditor Tom Schweich had no authority to challenge Gov. Jay Nixon's decision to withhold about $170 million from the budget for fiscal year 2012 before the spending plan actually went into effect.

That was the ruling today from six of the justices on the Missouri Supreme Court. Judge Paul Wilson did not participate.

St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will resume discussions next week of the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The budget presented to the board by Mayor Francis Slay totals $985 million.

Among the cuts to the budget that Slay is proposing includes essentially eliminating the city’s cable TV channel, known as STL-TV.

The cut was rejected by the board of estimate and apportionment, but Slay says he remains confident that the Board of Aldermen will see that STL-TV is a luxury the city can’t afford.

(Nixon: via Missouri Governor’s website, Spence: courtesy Alpha Packaging)

Gov. Jay Nixon entered the final month before the November elections with three times as much campaign cash as his Republican challenger.

Finance figures released Monday show the Democratic governor had $4.9 million in his campaign account at the start of October, compared with $1.5 million for St. Louis businessman Dave Spence.

(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Two major Illinois prisons and other facilities will stay open for at least another month after an arbitrator ruled Gov. Pat Quinn's administration violated workers' rights in rushing to close them

Arbitrator Steven Bierig concluded Friday that the state departments of Corrections and Juvenile Justice did not properly negotiate with workers over the impact of closing the supermax Tamms prison, the Dwight women's lockup and several juvenile facilities. 

The extra sales tax generated by a long postseason of baseball helped St. Louis city end the fiscal year with a $4.3 million surplus, but officials say that sigh of relief is only temporary.

Revenue was up just about $4 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, driven by higher hotel and sales taxes from the World Series. Lower-than-expected spending made up the rest of the surplus.

It's always better to have more money than expected, says city budget director Paul Payne, but the growth may not be sustainable.

(via Flickr/Trailnet)

The St. Louis County Parks Department presented its business plan to the County Council last night, and for now, no park closures are being discussed. 

Officials with the parks department said they’re doing their best to cut unnecessary expenses and uncover new revenue streams, but currently the department has a $500,000 budget shortfall for 2013.

The budget outlook could get much worse in 2014, and Parks Department Director Tom Ott said they would need to make drastic cuts without adequate funding.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a state budget that cuts millions of dollars in school funding and public safety spending.

In one key change to the spending blueprint adopted by the General Assembly in May, Quinn vetoed financing for prisons he wants to close.
 
He announced plans Saturday to try to redirect those funds to the state agency charged with caring for neglected and abused children.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Nixon will announce budget cuts today

Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to announce today if he’ll make any reductions to the state budget – ending weeks of speculation for university and social service program administrators.

Nixon this week signed legislation funding public schools and the state departments of health and mental health without making any cuts.

(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

A new spending plan for K-12 education in Missouri is now law.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the education budget last night at a Kansas City-area Boys State event.

The budget includes record funding for public schools, but remains below the levels called for in the state's education funding formula. A fix was supposed to be a priority for lawmakers in the last legislative session, but the Republican Party couldn't agree on a solution.

(via Flickr/JimBowen0306)

Lawmakers in Illinois went past their midnight deadline in Springfield on Thursday in an effort to finish their business before the campaign season. In a frenzied end, the General Assembly approved a new state budget and authorized a massive expansion of gambling.

But they're not finished.

The collapse of pension reform means lawmakers will probably return to Springfield this summer. This recap is from Amanda Vinicky in Springfield.

(Official Photo)

The U.S. Postal Service is on track to run out of cash as early as October.

The agency has temporarily shelved plans to close some 3,700 underperforming post offices. 

The Postal Service has been hurt by the drop in first-class mail as more people switch to the Internet to communicate and pay bills.

But St. Louis Congressman Russ Carnahan says the agencies’ biggest problem stems from a requirement to prepay health benefits for future retirees.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated at 6:15 am Wednesday. Reporting from Amanda Vinicky in Springfield and Jacob McCleland in Cape Girardeau was used in this report.

An Illinois legislative commission has signaled its opposition to Gov. Pat Quinn's plan to close two prisons and a state center for people with developmental disabilities.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Counterproposal for Edward Jones Dome upgrades due tomorrow

The St. Louis Rams have until tomorrow to offer their own price tag for upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis.

The Rams' lease requires the Dome to be in the "top tier" of stadiums in the National Football League. That tems is not clearly defined, but it's generally meant within the top 25 percent. Otherwise, the Rams are free to depart St. Louis in 2015.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate convened Monday afternoon preparing to debate next year's state budget, and almost immediately Senator Jason Crowell launched a filibuster.

The Republican from Cape Girardeau had promised weeks ago that he would block the budget over its use of one-time funds to fill holes in next year’s spending plan.  Gradually throughout the evening, other fiscally conservative Senators joined in, including Jim Lembke (R, Lemay), Rob Schaaf (R, St. Joseph), and Luann Ridgeway (R, Smithville).

Early on, Crowell spent part of the filibuster lampooning the Missouri House for cutting pensions for the blind.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A $966 million budget for the city of St. Louis has made it through the first of many hurdles at City Hall.

Mayor Francis Slay, comptroller Darlene Green, and Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed - who make up the Board of Estimate and Apportionment - all approved the budget on Friday. That sends it to the Board of Aldermen, who can shift money around but cannot add to the overall level of spending.

via Flickr | jennlynndesign

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have passed that chamber’s version of the state budget for next year.

The Senate plan is about $86 million smaller than the version passed by the House last month.  Cuts include $13 million from child care provider grants, $7 million from other childcare services, and $1 million from meals at state prisons.  Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) acknowledges that many of the cuts target Medicaid.

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.

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