A state representative with a lot of state workers in his district says the Governor is doing the best he can to balance the state budget amid declining state revenue.
Rep. Bill Deeken (R-Jefferson City) says some 18,000 of his constituents work for the state. Deeken says he’s talked to Gov. Nixon about the loss of nearly 2,ooo state positions since the start of the year; he wants the cuts made throughout the state so his district doesn’t suffer the full consequences of declining state revenue. Deeken says he thinks Nixon did a good job of doing just that.
Deeken says he’s prepared to spend a lot of time balancing the state budget when the legislature convenes in January, but that he’s optimistic state revenue will rebound.
He says Missouri can increase revenue by bringing more jobs into the state.
When he was elected seven years ago, the state was $1.1 billion dollars in debt, Deeken says, and “before the stock market crashed, we were looking at an $800 million surplus. It can be done.”
Nixon authorized cuts to the budget approved by the state legislature this past session to $634 million. Nixon vetoed $105 million dollars from the state budget, and then he withheld $325 million. Nixon is trimming $12 million from the state payroll through lay offs and attrition.
Nixon says the core budgets of schools, colleges, public safety and Medicaid will be spared. So-called cost containment should trim $32 million from the Medicaid budget. Maintenance and repair takes a $20 million hit, which comes on the heels of a $47.8 million cut announced earlier, a drastic reduction to the $107.8 million budget. The school transportation budget, which helps offset the cost to local school districts to run buses, will be trimmed by $15.8 million. The Life Science Research Board will be cut by $13 million.
Nixon insists that the budget cuts will not harm the core functions of the state budget: education, public safety and Medicaid. Though Nixon has authorized cuts to all departments, he said that the basic school funding formula will not be touched, that state colleges will receive the money promised in the budget, that there would be no cuts to state troopers, Water Patrol personnel or prison guards and that no one would lose eligibility for Medicaid.
State Budget Director Linda Luebbering released a detailed list of the budget cuts, which can be viewed at http://oa.mo.gov/bp/FY2010AdditionalExpenditureRestrictions.pdf.
Brent Martin contributed to this article.