The 57.2 million dollars in budget restrictions announced Thursday by Governor Jay Nixon (D) will impact things like Missouri schools, agriculture and roads. Education received the largest hit – more than $30 million.
Nixon blames the state budget reductions for the legislature’s veto override of a bill that he says gives tax breaks to special interests. The measure he’s referring to creates an income tax deduction for farmers who receive federal disaster or emergency aid.
Nixon warned before Wednesday’s annual veto session that the measure would cause about a $50 million budget shortfall because the tax deduction could go back to January 2014.
Senator Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan), the sponsor of the measure, disagrees with Nixon’s estimate. Schatz believes the budget gap would be about $12 million.
The other veto override that Nixon says contributed to the restrictions is a bill that will exempt businesses from paying sales tax for recreational classes they provide like yoga, dance and gymnastics. Nixon said the economic impact of Senator Will Kraus’s (R-Lee’s Summit) bill is about $5.7 million each year and will reduce by $1.9 million funding that schools receive.
Senate GOP leadership questions Nixon’s reasoning for the budget withholds.
“The reason for the recent withholds by the governor has nothing to do with the Legislature’s actions last night. The effects of the bills overridden won’t be felt for months if not years down the road,” says Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard (R-Joplin). “Missouri’s most overridden governor in history combined is using our veto session successes as a smokescreen to blur the real problem – the out-of-control growth in entitlement programs, especially Medicaid.”
“Budgets are about priorities, and this governor has proven time and time again he cares more about entitlement programs, such as Medicaid, than programs that will help our schools, local transportation, and our state’s number one industry agriculture. Missouri’s economy is not growing. We are tired of lagging behind the rest of the nation,” says Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City).
The cuts include:
- $20 million from general revenue for the new state Transportation department program to split the cost of local infrastructure projects between state and local government;
- $16.5 million for school transportation;
- $6 million for the school foundation formula;
- $4.5 million for the University of Missouri Applied Learning Center;
- $181,875 for Missouri S&T –Clay County Engineering Program;
- $1.45 million for University of Missouri Hospital/Truman Medical Centers – Resident Training Education program;
- $485,000 for a state-funded grant program designed to advance cattle feeding;
- $2.9 million for delayed subsidy payments involving biodiesel manufacturing;
- $2 million from an increase for Port Authority improvement projects;
- $1,875,000 for Glass Hall at Missouri State University in Springfield;
- $181,000 for the University of Missouri-Columbia Veterinary College equipment purchases;
- $1,085,250 in new funding aimed at helping Missouri’s dairy producers.
According to Rep. Tom Flanigan’s (R-Carthage) chief of staff Chris Dunn, the General Assembly can use the withhold override powers that Missouri voters put in the state Constitution in 2014, if it deems the budget restrictions are for frivolous reasons, among other things. Many Republican state lawmakers do not believe that
revenues are good enough this early in the fiscal year to warrant overriding the withholds made in July.