Attorney General Jay Nixon forecasts massive litigation if the governor and legisalture don’t settle down and approve the last two budget bills for the fiscal year that starts a week from today. Nixon says he’s been giving a lot of advice to both sides in the dispute between the legislature and the governor, and he thinks it’s a shame the situation has reached this point. Cutting through the clutter, the situation before the state is that the new fiscal year starts July 1st. The state constitution says one-fourth of the state budget must go for public education. There is no appropriations bill doing that. The governor and the legislature have been involved in trench warfare for weeks, shooting accusations at each other from a distance across no-budget land. The legislature completed work last week on the four budget bills Holden vetoed that triggered the special legislative session at the Capitol. Holden accepted the bills funding health, mental health and social services. He rejected, again, the bills funding public schools, colleges and universities. Holden has asked the legislature to approve a 90-day emergency appropriation for schools and return in September during the annual veto session to wrap up this special session. Legislative leaders have refused to consider the request. Nixon says that while he is giving advice to both sides, he is preparing for the worst. He is prepared to take legal action to keep funding flowing to public schools if the governor and the legislature remain deadlocked. Failure to approve funding for education raises all kinds of questions, such as whether budgets for other agencies can be docked to make up for the 25% of the budget going to schools; what happens to employees and their insurance programs; what happens to the year-round school programs for the blind and deaf? If the situation is not resolved by the July 1st deadline and ends up in court, Nixon says there is no way of telling how long it will take for the courts to decide the issue.
You are here: / / State’s Top Lawyer Fielding Questions from All Sides on Budget