Every week, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.
This week, Jo Mannies hosted state House Budget chairman Rick Stream, a Republican from Kirkwood. She was joined by Marshall Griffin of St. Louis Public Radio’s Jefferson City bureau. (Listen to an earlier podcast with Stream.)
Republican leaders in the Missouri House have scrapped the budget being proposed by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat. Instead they will use last year's budget bills as a starting point for crafting their fiscal year 2015 spending plan.
House Budget Chair Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, says their budget bills contain none of the governor's spending proposals for the fiscal year (FY2015) that begins July 1.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.