Leaders in the Missouri House say they will not use federal economic stimulus money to fund on-going state expenses, a stance at odds with the budget proposed by Governor Nixon.
House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) said during a news conference at the Capitol that he will not use money allocated by Congress to stimulate the economy to pay for state operating expenses. The Nixon Administration anticipates receiving slightly more than $800 million from the economic stimulus plan. It wants to use the money to make up for a drastic drop in state revenue.
House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) insisted during the news conference that using one-time funds from Washington to pay for ongoing expenses would backfire in later years. Both Icet and Richard referred to the difficult decisions the Republican majority made during other lean years; decisions they said they stuck to despite being roundly criticized. They said those tough decisions have paid off this year. Missouri faces a revenue shortfall of less than $300 million. Icet said it would be much greater if the legislature hadn’t made the cuts it did in the past.
The two suggested that the money from Washington would best be used to create jobs. Richard suggested highway construction and other infrastructure projects would provide an immediate jolt to the sagging state economy. Richard and Icet also have suggested that a rebate to taxpayers might be in order.