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.
The 2012 Missouri legislative session is underway, and much of the first-day talk revolved around the challenges facing the state’s public schools.
In addition to Missouri’s K-12 schools not being fully funded, suburban school districts near St. Louis and Kansas City may be forced to accept thousands of transfer students from the inner cities, thanks to the State Supreme Court’s ruling in Turner v. Clayton. House Speaker Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) says any solutions to those problems should include tuition tax credits for kids in unaccredited areas, and statewide expansion of charter schools.
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.”
A Missouri utility regulator is resigning next month from the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Jeff Davis said Friday his resignation from the commission would be effective Jan. 16. Davis joined the Public Service Commission in 2004 and served as the chairman from 2005 to 2009. His six-year term on the commission was expiring in April.
Missouri officials are predicting a 3.9 increase in state revenue in the next fiscal year.
The so-called consensus estimate of general state revenue for the budget year that begins in July was released Wednesday. The estimate predicts total revenue of roughly $7.6 billion in the 2013 fiscal year.
The estimate is calculated by state and outside experts and agreed to by the governor and key legislators. It's one factor in developing Missouri's next state budget.
Gov. Jay Nixon is scheduled to release his budget proposal in January.