Missouri budget

(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.

Missouri Capitol building
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.

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.

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.

(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.

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.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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

(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).

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.