Governor Blunt has spent many days on the road announcing his budget priorities. But the legislature, which begins its session today, is not at all bound by anything the governor has been saying for the last three months.
Some shaded-tree mathematics shows he has announced about one-billion dollars in new spending. What has gone unsaid is a long-standing fact of political life: The governor proposes; the legislature disposes.
Blunt is not worried about the source of the billion dollars in spending he supports. He says he wouldn’t be making the announcements if he didn’t believe the money would be available. He says his administration and the House and Senate agree on a consensus revenue estimate which he won’t reveal for now.
But Senate leader Michael Gibbons of Kirkwood says the governor can announce all kinds of things.but he can’t guarantee anything. "That’s our job to decide what the spending priorities are for the coming year," he says. In fact, Gibbons says, the legislature has to take a longer view of spending than it usually does–planning four or five years, especially with serious forecasts that the state could face a 400-million dollar funding shortage when it plans a budget next year.