The extra time given taxpayers in flooded areas of Missouri to file their state income taxes has come and gone and the money that has come in leaves state officials optimistic—but cautious—that the state will be able to afford the programs and services it has budgeted for..
Missourians in flooded areas were given an extra thirty days to file their taxes. Those tax returns have generated about 19.3 million more dollars.
The state budget office says that amounts all but guarantees the state will be able to pay its bills for the fiscal year that ends June 30th. And so far, it appears taxpayers will adequately finance the costs of state programs, services, and institutions in the next fiscal year.
But state budget director Marty Drewel says the governor and the state budget office will have to keep careful track of economic trends in case a cutback in state spending is needed at mid-year.
Senate appropriations chairman Gary Nodler of Joplin is hoping for the best.. He says he does not believe Missouri is "technically" in a recession and thinks the state will escape one. He thinks the state’s slow economic period largely caused by the discount mortgage mess is correcting itself..
Drewel says income taxes coming to the state look good. But sales taxes are disappointing. He attributes that to high energy and food prices which are restricting discretionary spending. He says the state budget for the next fiscal year is okay under present conditions. But he says state officials need to treat lightly in their spending as the year goes along.
Nodler says the governor does have some flexibility if state income declines, mostly in the 149-million dollars capital improvements budget. He says the governor can slow or withhold some of that spending. He sys it will be harder to reduce funding at midyear for programs.