A worsening state financial situation puts added pressure on the House Budget Committee currently drafting the state spending blueprint for the next fiscal year.
Work on the budget for the fiscal year beginning July first was well underway prior to the announcement that state tax receipts keep falling, an announcement that triggered a suggestion by Governor Nixon that legislators cut another half a billion dollars.
House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) says he wants details.
“I mean, the governor has made public pronouncements he would like to cut the budget by $500 million and he’s made some high-level intimations about what areas he’s going to cut,” Icet tells Capitol reporters. “We the House are still waiting on details about what the governor is proposing to cut.”
Icet says it’s likely the House will approve a budget before those details emerge. He plans long sessions the next couple of days to hammer out budget bills. He expects a record number of amendments to be offered during committee meetings.
Icet plans to work closely with his Senate counter-parts to enact deep cuts to the state budget.
“So, it’s a little different year versus we put things in, they take our stuff out, they put their stuff in and we go to conference and negotiate,” Icet says. “I would think that the Senate would actually be cutting programs. I mean, they always, obviously, cut the things we put in. But I think they will actually cut more if we hold to what I understand is this gentleman’s agreement between the House, Senate and governor’s office.”
The House Budget Committee is working on the final budget product that Icet will bring before the full House for debate prior to it moving on to the Senate. The budget must be completed by the legislature and sent to Governor Nixon by May 7th.