Governor Nixon has outlined his policies in the State of the State address. The proposed budget has been released. The real work is now underway.
House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) acknowledges the budget proposed by the Nixon Administration surprised him a bit, especially after the administration and legislative leaders agreed that state revenue would likely fall four percent short for the current fiscal year and grow only one percent from the revised estimate next year.
Icet says the budget book he has received from the Nixon Administration isn’t based on that consensus revenue estimate that legislative leaders reached with the governor. He says it clearly is not crafted on the one percent growth estimate.
"Really, it’s a massive expansion of state spending," Icet tells the Missourinet.
That will be the sticking point. Nixon relies on an estimated $800 million in federal stimulus dollars. Icet vows not to use any of that one-time money for on-going expenses, even though the Nixon Administration argues the federal money will jump-start the state economy, spurring state revenue to previous levels.
Icet doesn’t buy the argument and says the governor’s budget for next year raises a logical question.
"If we pass this budget as is for (Fiscal Year) 2010, then the obvious question is, for 2011, where does the $800 million dollar, plus general revenue come from?"
Icet says his committee will begin its work by talking with state department heads to determine what the core needs of their departments are and attempting to cut based on that information.