Missouri budget

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.

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.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House will begin debate Tuesday on the 13 bills that make up next year’s state budget.

The three bills that encompass the state’s Medicaid program don’t include Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) proposed expansion, although House Democrats may try to offer amendments to change that.  Budget chairman Rick Stream (R, Kirkwood) says the state should have more of a say in how Medicaid dollars are handled.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's response to last year's big tax cuts in neighboring Kansas could carry a $1.1 billion price tag.

A Missouri Senate committee on Monday endorsed a proposal to cut the state's individual and corporate income tax rates by 1.5 percentage points. The individual rate would fall to 4.5 percent, and the corporate rate to 4.75 percent.

Senate Republicans are looking to respond to Kansas' tax cuts, which they say have caused businesses to move from Missouri across the border.

(via Flickr/SodanieChea)

Within approximately the last twenty years, Missouri ranks among the worst states in which the gap between rich and middle-income households has widened.  That’s according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we also take note of the report’s finding in which the gap between the very richest and the poor is even larger with the top 5 percent of Missouri households having an average income 11.7 times that of the bottom fifth.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Sales tax holiday this weekend in Missouri - except for a few municipalities

It will be a big weekend for back-to-school shopping in Missouri as the state's annual sales tax holiday runs Friday through Sunday. School supplies, clothing items under $100, and personal computers under $3,500 are among the goods that will be exempt from the state's 4.2 percent tax.

Cities and counties can choose to opt out and charge local taxes, but as Missouri Department of Revenue spokesman Ted Farnen says many are taking part.

Officials at the Missouri Lottery have no strategy to generate an additional $35 million that legislative budget writers and Gov. Jay Nixon's administration had hoped would help avoid cuts to government services.
A Lottery spokesman told The Associated Press on Tuesday that its goal is to generate about $289 million for education during the fiscal year that began July 1. That would be an increase of little more than 3 percent from last year.

(via Flickr/kevindooley)

Missouri closed out its 2012 fiscal year with slightly better-than-expected revenues. But that doesn't necessarily translate to a budget surplus.
Figures released Tuesday show Missouri had more than $7.3 billion in general revenues during the fiscal year that ended June 30. That's up more than 3.2 percent compared with the 2011 fiscal year. And it's also better than the 2.7 percent growth rate upon which the budget had been based.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has signed Missouri’s $24 billion budget into law, but he also sliced $15 million from next year’s spending plan.

Missouri veterans homes get casino money

May 31, 2012
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri veterans homes are getting a significant boost as a result of new legislation establishing a dedicated source of funding.

Governor Jay Nixon attended a ceremonial bill signing at the St. Louis Veterans Home on Thursday.

Missouri currently has seven nursing homes which serve some 1,300 veterans. The legislation will allocate $32 million to the Missouri Veterans Commission annually, up from just $6.6 million, and will be paid for through per-patron fees paid by casinos.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Most of the big issues this legislative session were tied to the state budget, which has been passed and sent to Governor Jay Nixon.  That has many political pundits wondering if the last week of the 2012 session will be anticlimactic.  But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin tells us, there are still a few hot-button items left to fight over.

Workers' comp