House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet says the only thing we can truly know about the consensus revenue estimate is that it is wrong.
Icet, in an interview with the Missourinet, is quick to say that all such estimates are wrong.
“The only thing you know about an estimate is that it is wrong. You don’t know if it is high or low, but you know that particular number is the wrong number,” Icet tells the Missourinet. “But, again, it’s the best we have and it gives us a point at which we can all agree from which to begin to build the budget for next year.”
We’ll find out later whether general revenue tax collections come in under or over the estimate during Fiscal Year 2011 which begins July 1st. The consensus revenue estimate is an agreement reached among the budget writers from the House, the Senate and the Nixon Administration. The number for next year is $7.223 billion, a bump up from the adjusted estimate that the state will collect $6.97 billion in general revenue by the time the current fiscal year ends June 30th. That number was adjusted, because state revenue this year has fallen far short of the $7.76 billion dollar estimate from a year ago. That shortfall has caused Governor Nixon to cut more than $600 million from the state budget. More cuts might be needed to keep the budget balanced.
State lawmakers will use the $7.223 billion consensus revenue estimate to build the budget for next year. State Budget Director Linda Luebbering suggested the legislature doesn’t have to budget the entire amount and could leave room in case state revenues continue to lag. Icet tells the Missourinet he intends for his committee to budget the entire amount.
“I’m going to stick with the consensus revenue number and move forward accordingly,” Icet says.
Icet says the state budget won’t emerge from its downward trend until the state economy does.
“Until the national economy turns around and (in) the state of Missouri, we’re just dealt with a bad hand and we have to play as best as we can,” says Icet.
Times remain difficult. The state has released 2010 fiscal year-to-date figures. General revenue collections still lag more than 10 1/2 % below year ago numbers, at $3.3 billion this year compared with $3.7 billion last year. Net general revenue collections in December were down 21.7%. State revenue collections were down across-the-board.
Brent Martin interviews House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) on consensus revenue estimate. (5:45 MP3)