Missouri budget

(Missouri Department of Transportation/Facebook)

This year’s array of snowstorms kept governmental entities across Missouri busy plowing roads. It hasn't been cheap to keep streets clear.  And the expense is expected to go up as winter storms continue their blitz across the St. Louis area and the Show Me State.

To understand just how much more expensive this winter is than previous years, Missouri Department of Transportation’s Elizabeth Wright provides some perspective.  She says it’s cost the state around $40 million to plow snow off state roads so far. But MoDOT spends on average $42 million every year.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

Missourians flocked to the stores in December, causing a huge increase in the state’s sales tax collections that, in turn, has helped fatten the state government’s coffers more than expected.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering on Thursday credited a rosier public mood – which apparently led to more holiday shopping – for a  25.9 percent increase in Missouri’s sales tax collections in December, compared to December 2012.

(UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013

In a spirit of Christmas Eve,  Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that he was releasing about $40.1 million in withheld budget allocations for a variety of projects – most notably $18 million for repairs and improvements to the state Capitol building and $5 million for projects at Missouri state parks.

Another $38 million, sought by legislative leaders to buy a new office building, remains withheld.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 1:20 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20)

Missouri legislative leaders and Gov. Jay Nixon are disagreeing on what revenue estimates should be used in drawing up the state budget for the coming fiscal year – an argument that could affect the General Assembly’s deliberations when it goes back into session in a few weeks.

But the specifics of the budget dispute aren’t clear because most of the parties involved are commenting only through press releases and offering -- at least so far -- few additional details.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Even as the Missouri General Assembly considers tax breaks for Boeing, the latest state revenue numbers indicate a slowdown in the state’s economic recovery.

Missouri’s general revenue collections for November were up only 1 percent, compared to November 2012, putting the fiscal year-to-date increase slightly below what had been estimated when the General Assembly and Gov. Jay Nixon’s staff crafted the state’s current budget.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Missouri state government is seeing its coffers continue to grow – although arguably at a slower pace -- thanks to continued increases in individual and corporate income tax collections, plus a bump in sales taxes.

In essence, that’s the portrait painted by the state’s latest revenue numbers released Monday.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Two days after pledging to significantly raise Missouri's Higher Education budget next year, Governor Jay Nixon (D) on Wednesday pledged to do the same for the state's public schools.

Nixon told K-12 school leaders in Jefferson City that the state's AAA credit rating and improving economy will enable his administration to spend more money on educating Missouri's children.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Close to 1,000 members of the Missouri National Guard are expected to be furloughed shortly, as a result of the federal government shutdown, state officials announced Wednesday.

The furloughed group represents 70 percent of the 1,400 of the Guard’s "federal technician" staff. Their pay is covered by federal money and affected by the shutdown. The remaining 30 percent are deemed essential and will stay on.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri Supreme Court has tossed out state Auditor Tom Schweich’s suit challenging Gov. Jay Nixon’s authority to withhold money allocated in state budget, ruling among other things that the auditor acted too quickly.

The 6-0 decision, released Tuesday, also reaffirmed that the Missouri constitution grants the governor broad powers to reduce or restrict state spending during the budget year.

Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released just over half of the $400 million he withheld earlier this year from Missouri's current state budget.

In a press release, he announced that $215 million will be divvied up among K-12 schools, higher education, mental health programs and specific programs for training health care professionals in southwest Missouri.  Nixon released the money Thursday, one day after Republican lawmakers failed to override his veto of a controversial tax cut bill.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Amid the continued battle over the fate of a vetoed tax-cut bill, Missouri state government’s latest income numbers show continued growth – but below the projected amount needed to match this fiscal year’s budget.

The state budget office also is continuing to discourage talk about any “surplus.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Amid a high-profile battle over tax cuts, Missouri state government has seen its first monthly income decline in well over a year – with July collections down almost 5 percent, compared to a year ago.

But state Budget Director Linda Luebbering cautions that the facts behind the numbers aren’t as dire as they may appear.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri state government ended its latest fiscal year with an unexpected additional $339 million in the bank, but that’s not money just sitting around waiting to be spent.

Even though the growth in FY2013 was more than twice the projection, state Budget Director Linda Luebbering warns that it will take a lot more than that to make up for the state’s four lean years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gov. Jay Nixon withheld nearly $400 million from the state’s 2014 budget, a move he attributed to uncertainty over a veto override of tax cut legislation.

Nixon, a Democrat, made the announcement in Jefferson City after signing bills on the state’s roughly $25 billion budget. In a statement, the governor said that he made the withholds because Republican lawmakers may try to override a tax cut bill – House Bill 253 – later this fall. Among other things, that bill cuts personal income, corporate and business taxes.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated at 4:55 p.m. with quotes from Gov. Nixon, Budget Dir. Luebbering, and several GOP legislative leaders.

Citing concerns that lawmakers will override his veto of an income tax bill, Governor Jay Nixon (D) announced today that he's frozen more than $400 million in spending from the state's budget for next year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri’s state government appears on track to end this fiscal year with an unanticipated cushion of at least $300 million. The overall growth for FY2013 was about twice what had been predicted.

But state Budget Director Linda Luebbering  cautioned Tuesday that the May monthly figures also hint that the state’s spate of good financial news may be brief.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Governor Jay Nixon (D) delivered a mixed report card Friday on the state budget and other bills passed by the Republican-controlled Missouri General Assembly this week.

While he complimented lawmakers for increasing funding for K-12 schools and higher education, he also criticized them for passing legislation that would cut state income tax rates for individuals and corporations.  He told reporters that the bill would gut state revenues by more than $800 million.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gov. Jay Nixon indicated Friday that he had serious misgivings about a broad-based tax cut bill that the Missouri General Assembly has sent to his desk.

But Nixon, a Democrat, stopped short of saying whether he would sign or veto the measure, which was crafted to compete with neighboring states, such as Kansas, that have aggressively cut taxes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri lawmakers finished work on the bills that encompass the state's budget, sending the 2014 fiscal year plan to Gov. Jay Nixon a day before a mandated deadline.

But the bills passed by the legislature include several provisions that have raised the governor's ire, including partial funding of the Department of Revenue's Division of Motor Vehicles.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri lawmakers have sent a nearly $25 billion budget to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Missouri House approved wide-reaching legislation cutting personal income, corporate and business taxes, sending the measure to Gov. Jay Nixon for consideration.

The House passed state Sen. Eric Schmitt's legislation, SB 253, Thursday by a vote of 103-51. That vote came a day after the Missouri Senate passed the bill by a vote of 24-9 and sent it to the House. Now Nixon will have to consider whether to sign or veto the bill.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is threatening to lay off state workers unless Republican lawmakers fully fund the Missouri Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicles Division for a full fiscal year.

The warning comes one day after House and Senate budget negotiators agreed to only fund the state division for eight months, as a means of pressuring state Revenue officials to stop scanning and storing source documents of driver's license applicants.  Nixon says he'll treat the 8-month appropriation as a full year's funding if GOP leaders don’t reverse themselves.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House and Senate budget negotiators have crafted a final version of next year's state budget.

The nearly $25 billion spending plan includes a $66 million increase for K-12 schools, and a $25 million hike for state universities and community colleges.  It still does not include the Medicaid expansion proposed by Governor Jay Nixon (D), which disappointed committee member and State Senator Kiki Curls (D, Kansas City).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Thursday’s developments in the Missouri Capitol highlight that there’s nothing like a financial windfall to ignite bipartisan goodwill.

The latest revenue figures for Missouri government were released Thursday morning and were even rosier than expected. The news prompted Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, to announce immediately that he’d call on the General Assembly – now embroiled in crafting a new budget – to consider adding $86 million in one-time spending for capital improvements.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Save it, spend it or give it back? That, in essence, is the growing debate in the Missouri Capitol as legislators are monitoring the state’s apparently improving income picture, which could result in a budget surplus when this fiscal year ends June 30.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is adamantly in favor of the “save’’ option, and he displayed a bit of pique Monday as he blasted the state Senate for approving a FY2014 budget last week that earmarks some of the possible windfall for needed physical repairs to the state Capitol, among other things.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri House has formally rejected the Senate version of the state budget, setting the stage for final negotiations over the state’s spending plan for next year.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri senators trying to target budget cuts at the agency that issues driver's licenses may have instead blocked funding for the registration of boats and mobile homes.

The Senate passed a budget plan late Monday that eliminates the entire $3.5 million allotment for the Motor Vehicle and Driver Licensing Division.

During debate, senators said the proposed cut could halt the issuance of driver's licenses. They described it as negotiating leverage to get additional information from state officials about the data collected from driver's license applicants.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

After nearly eight hours of debate Monday, the Missouri Senate has passed next year’s state budget.

The roughly $25 billion spending plan still does not include Medicaid expansion, but not for a lack of trying by Democrats.  Minority Floor Leader Jolie Justus offered up an amendment that would’ve added $890 million to the Social Services budget, enough to expand Medicaid to around 260,000 Missourians next year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Growth may be slowing, but the Missouri’s revenue stream continues to flow heavier than expected.

The latest numbers released today by state Budget Director Linda Luebbering, show that Missouri’s general-revenue collections for the current fiscal year are running at a pace that’s up 8.3 percent overall, compared to a year ago.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri’s budget for the next fiscal year has been passed by the State House.

While Medicaid expansion has dominated most of the debate, spending hikes were approved in other areas.  There’s an extra $65 million for K-12 schools, although the increase still falls short of fully funding the state’s public school formula.  Republican Mike Lair of Livingston County chairs the Appropriations committee on Education.

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