Democrats in the state House have defended Governor Jay Nixon’s stance that the budget the legislature has sent him must results in cuts and layoffs, because it doesn’t fully fund the Division of Motor Vehicles.
That budget includes only enough funding for the Division for eight months. Republican budget makers want the Revenue Department to change its licensing procedures and, if it does, they say the rest of that Division’s annual budget can be appropriated in January.
Nixon issued a statement this week saying if that happens, he will make cuts to programs and lay off state workers to live within that two-thirds budget.
Representative Jill Schupp (D-Creve Coeur) says the reduced funding ties the Governor’s hands.
“We have to expect that the Governor is going to assume what we have told him to assume, which is that we only have eight months’ worth of money in the budget. We have to be prepared to spend those eight months’ worth of dollars over the twelve month cycle of the budget.”
Representative Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart) calls the reduction improper.
“This is bureaucratic euthanasia. We’re putting a pillow over the face of this department and trying to suffocate it in retaliation for some perceived wrongdoing that is still in question.”
Republicans defended the tactic, however, saying there is precedent for it and their intent to fund the rest of the Division’s annual budget in January has been made clear.
Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) called the Governor’s threat to make cuts and layoffs, “disgusting, it’s dishonest and it’s deplorable. It’s an insult to the intelligence of all Missourians. That Department is fully funded for long enough that we can come back next year and do a supplemental.
State Budget Director Linda Luebbering says there is no plan on where those cuts might be made or how many employees might lose their jobs, and Nixon has not taken questions on the matter from the media.