Linda Luebbering

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Missouri is planning to refinance more than $500 million of debt as part of Gov. Jay Nixon's plan to balance the state budget.

Nixon's budget proposal for the next fiscal year assumes the state will save $41 million from the debt restructuring.

The governor's budget office says the state already has refinanced $20 million of principal from the debt used to build Mizzou Arena at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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Halfway through Missouri's budget year, state revenues are sluggish.

The state budget office reported Thursday that Missouri's revenue increased 1.2 percent through the first six months of the 2012 fiscal year. Revenues need to grow at about 2.7 percent to meet the mark set by the budget.

Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the revenue report was "concerning." But she noted that the revenue could improve in the second half of the budget year. Missouri budgets take effect July 1.

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Missouri lawmakers will be trying to plug a half-billion-dollar gap in next year's budget when they convene their 2012 session on Wednesday.

State budget director Linda Luebbering says much of the hole is due to a reduction in federal money, such as stimulus funds and Medicaid payments.  However, State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) suggests that that number is not set in stone.

“There are predictions anywhere from $400 to $900 million, (that could) be our shortfall for this upcoming year," Pearce said.  "How do you fill that?  It’s gonna be tough.” 

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Missouri tax revenues have increased this year but are falling short of what was expected in the state's budget.

The state Office of Administration reported Friday that state revenues through November increased 2 percent, to $2.84 billion from $2.78 billion last year. So far, sales tax collections are up 3.4 percent but corporate income taxes are down 10.7 percent.


Mo. Gross Revenue Up Slightly

Missouri’s gross revenue collection in July was up by .6 percent as compared to July 2010.

The revenue increase is driven by strong individual income tax collection, which was up 9.3 percent over the same time last year. Sales taxes remain stagnant, according to state budget director Linda Luebbering. She blames low sales tax collection on a stubbornly high unemployment rate.

Missouri's decline in state income may be coming to an end. The figures released today by state Budget Director Linda Luebbering show that state government saw a slight uptick in revenue collections for August, compared to a year ago: $594 million last month, compared to $589.5 million a year ago.

Although up only $4.5 million, the 0.8 percent increase comes after close to two years of monthly declines -- many of them in double digits.

Missouri's monthly income numbers continued their decline in July, but state Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the 4.2 percent drop -- compared to July 2009 -- was not unexpected.

"We're actually about right on track," Luebbering said in an interview today.

The current state budget, for the fiscal year that began on July 1, is based on an annual income increase of 2.3 percent. But Luebbering said said that budget crafters "knew we were going to start the year in the negative."