Governor Jay Nixon (D)’s final budget proposal to the state legislature proposes significant increases in spending on education, care for those with special needs and developmental disabilities, and Medicaid.
Nixon’s plan outlines $27.3-billion in spending including at $85-million dollar increase for public schools, which would leave the state still $425-million short of meeting the target set forth in its public school funding law. It proposes $55.6-million more for colleges and universities – who have agreed not to increase tuition – $653-million more dollars for Medicaid including $122-million for provider rate increases, and $54.1-million to give state employees a two-percent pay raise.
Nixon used his State of the State Address and the presentation of his budget to tout where the state is now, compared to when he became governor in 2008.
“The budget I present tonight invests $400-million more in the K-12 foundation formula than when I became governor,” said Nixon.
Republicans have only had since last night to review his budget proposal, but they’re already findings things about it they don’t like.
“The first thing that we see in this budget, its astronomical spending growth,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia).
“For example spending on mental health … the Missouri legislature put $70-million for new mental health programs in this year’s budget, to start January 1 … the governor won’t release that money. Now the governor turns around and says hey, I want to do what you did in this year’s budget but wouldn’t fund, but now I want to do it in next year’s budget and I’m calling on you to do it,” said Schaefer. “I think you’re not going to find a lot of opposition because that’s something that we funded … but I think what you are going to find opposition on is the astronomical growth on welfare spending.”
The spending proposal is based on the estimates that Missouri revenue this year will grow by 2.8-percent and by 4.1-percent in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Nixon and budget leaders in the House and Senate haven’t agreed on those estimates, with Nixon’s acting budget director Dan Haug saying that is due to disagreement over whether those numbers should be adjusted more often.
Nixon’s staff says a tax cut passed last year could be triggered in the next fiscal year, cutting about $40-million in state revenue.