Missouri budget

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For the first time this fiscal year, Missouri's state revenues are growing above the rate needed to balance the budget.

The state Office of Administration released figures on Wednesday that show Missouri's net revenues were up 3.1 percent through April - or the first 10 months of the fiscal year. The 2012 budget is based on 2.7 percent growth.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate took the next step Tuesday toward beginning final negotiations with the House on next year’s state budget.  But Senate members struggled with whether to bind themselves to various positions they support.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has rejected 12 of the 13 budget bills passed last week by the State Senate.

The move was part of the normal procedure for preparing for final budget negotiations.  However, some House members took the opportunity to criticize the Senate for cutting more than $3 million from the state’s tourism budget.  State Rep. Don Ruzicka (R, Mount Vernon) urged House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) to try to get the cut restored.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

With three weeks left in the legislative session, Governor Jay Nixon (D) is urging lawmakers to fund veterans’ homes, pensions for the blind and other specific needs in the still-unfinished state budget.

Nixon told reporters today that nursing homes for military veterans are woefully underfunded in next year’s $24 billion spending plan, and that a separate bill needs to be passed to insure a dedicated funding source for the homes.

“Missouri’s veterans’ home(s) provide critical services for thousands of men and women who have served our country with honor and bravery," Nixon said.  "Let me be clear, that bill must get to my desk without delay.”

(Tim Bommel/Mo. House communications)

The budget chairman for the Missouri House is not happy with the Senate’s decision early Wednesday morning to restore $28 million for blind pensions.

An amendment by State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) reversed the cut that the House wanted to use for Higher Education.  State Rep. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) authored the original cut, stating that the pension program is for blind residents who have too much money to be on Medicaid.  He calls the Senate’s actions puzzling.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate passed a $24 billion state budget early this morning, following several hours of debate and closed-door negotiations.

The Senate spending plan for FY2013 directly challenges the Missouri House's position on blind pensions.  By a narrow margin, Senators restored $28 million in state funding cut by the House last month, while leaving in $18 million in federal Medicaid dollars.  Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says they now have more room to maneuver when negotiations with the House begin on the final version of the budget.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have crafted a proposal designed to preserve funding for blind pensions.

The plan announced by Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) would use $18 million in federal Medicaid money to create a new blind pension health care fund.

“We’re gonna add language that everyone in that program has to go through Medicaid eligibility, so that we determine who is Medicaid eligible and who’s not…that’s the first threshold," Schaefer said.  "The second is we’re gonna put in language to establish a premium.”

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Good morning! Here are a couple of the stories we've followed this morning to get you started:

Relatives of teen killed by police want answers

Relatives of a 15-year-old boy shot and killed by St. Louis County police are disputing police claims that the teen had a gun when he was shot. The shooting happened Tuesday night in the Glasgow Village area of north St. Louis County.

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Budget hearings have begun in the Missouri Senate, and already there are notable differences with the House in where that chamber wants to make cuts.

While the House budget would give state workers earning less than $70,000 per year a two percent raise, the Senate version would limit those raises to workers making less than $45,000 per year.  Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says his administration has identified some additional federal money that could help avoid cuts to a program that provides health benefits to the blind.

Nixon's administration said Wednesday that most of the additional $18 million of federal Medicaid money could be used to restore the blind benefit cuts included in a budget plan passed by the House.

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The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.

The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools.  Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.

(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

One day after the Missouri House gave first-round approval to the state budget, a state Senator is threatening to derail the entire budget process.

Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) is objecting to the use of one-time sources of money to plug holes in the FY2013 budget.  He singled out both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and House GOP leaders for plans to divert $40 million from a federal mortgage settlement to the state’s Higher Education budget.

Flickr/david_shane

Missouri’s state budget for next year has received first-round approval by the State House. 

As promised, Republican leaders defunded a program that aids blind Missourians and used the money to erase Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed cuts to Higher Education. 

House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey told the chamber he’s no longer willing to cut money from Missouri’s universities and community colleges:

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House is debating all 13 bills this afternoon that make up the state’s proposed budget for next year.

Lawmakers are offering up several amendments to the budget – one in particular would have shifted $150,000 from the state’s biodiesel fund to Alzheimer’s patients.  It was sponsored by State Rep. Tracy McCreery (I, Olivette).

Joseph Leahy, SLPR news

East St. Louis lays off more employees

A tight budget has forced East St. Louis to lay off seven more employees, leaving the city's police officers without a support staff.  

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the latest layoffs include Police Chief Michael Floore's secretary, the department's director of community programs and a records room employee responsible for logging all of the city's tows.

The city also cut employees in the mayor's office, the city clerk's office and the city treasurer's office.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Budget writers in the Missouri House have approved their version of the 13 bills that make up the state’s budget for next year.

Committee members eliminated $28 million for a program that aids the blind, but then put $6 million back into it from another source.  Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) chairs the Budget Committee.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

House budget writers finish reviews of Missouri's proposed spending plan for next year

Members of the budget committee now have until 4 p.m today to offer amendments, which will be debated and voted on Wednesday.   

Republican Ryan Silvey of Kansas City chairs the House Budget Committee:

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $5 million withheld from this year’s K-12 and Higher Education budgets.

The Nixon Administration says $3 million of the withheld funding will help keep school buses on the road, while just over $2 million will go toward universities and community colleges.  Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the move was made because state lottery sales have been better than expected.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

In the wake of a possible approximately 12.5 percent cut in higher education funding for fiscal year 2013, and ongoing discussion of tuition hikes and job cuts across the University of Missouri system in response, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced an a

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Mo. revenues behind amount needed for budget

Missouri's revenues continue to be behind what is needed to balance the budget. January's figures show that net state revenues grew two percent over the same month last year.

The fiscal year began in July. For the first seven months of the 2012 fiscal year, Missouri's general revenues were up 1.3 percent. That is almost half the 2.7 percent growth rate that the governor's budget office says is needed to meet the budget.

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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.

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is warning Missouri’s college administrators not to raise tuition to make up the difference in budget cuts he announced this week during his annual State of the State Address.

The governor wants to cut the state’s Higher Education budget by nearly $106 million, or 12.5 percent.  During his address Tuesday he indicated that he wants universities to leave tuition levels where they are.

Adam Procter | flickr

Missouri's legislative budget leaders may not go along with Gov. Jay Nixon's proposed cuts to public colleges and universities.

Nixon has proposed a 12.5 percent reduction to higher education institutions for the next academic year.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said Wednesday he does not intend to follow Nixon's recommendation. The Columbia Republican says the cut would be a huge blow to higher education.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Updated 3:24 p.m.

A proposal has been scrapped by Governor Jay Nixon (D) to borrow money from Missouri’s state universities to help balance the state’s budget.

The idea was floated last month, in which $106 million in reserve funds from five of Missouri’s largest universities would be used to shore up the Department of Higher Education’s budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.  That sparked an outcry from both university officials and lawmakers.

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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.

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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he's monitoring the situation in Washington, following the so-called congressional supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement on reducing the nation's debt.  He admits it's possible that the lack of action by Congress could impact Missouri's state budget next year:

"The uncertainties that you have in this job about the dollars coming in are very real…if they fail to reach the continuing resolution to move things forward by the end of the year is something we're looking at, to measure what that would do to the state," Nixon said.

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Missouri's revenues have fallen slightly short of what's needed to meet the budget through the first third of the state fiscal year.

Figures released Wednesday by the state Office of Administration show general revenues rose 1.2 percent through October compared with the same point in the previous fiscal year.

State budget director Linda Luebbering says revenues need to grow at around 2 percent to meet the mark set by the budget.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Jay Nixon is continuing to defend a decision to withhold more than $170 million from the fiscal year 2012 budget, despite a constitutional challenge from another statewide official.

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