October 24, 2014

Budget director discusses impact on Missouri of federal shutdown’s end

The State’s Budget Director says Missouri could breathe a sigh of relief with the agreement in Washington that ends the federal shutdown, but not a long one.

Linda Luebbering says while the state’s Medicaid program was not threatened by the shutdown, relatively smaller programs were close to being suspended. She says the federal government had told states it had found funding to keep food stamp programs running only through the end of October, and the Women, Infants and Children program perhaps as long as early November.

She says the end to the shutdown is positive for those programs, but says the agreement between Congress and the President only pushes back deadlines.

“At least we’ll have the information we need if we’re getting to this point again in January, which is when the next deadline is. So yes, it’s a temporary reprieve, but it’s only a temporary reprieve.”

She says uncertainty about what the federal budget situation will be creates uncertainty as work begins on the new state budget.

“Technically there is always uncertainty about the federal budget, however … rarely does it get to this point where they don’t pass a budget on time and there is this much uncertainty this late in the fiscal year that’s already started.