Hundreds of ideas for reforming state government have been sent to the state Senate by state employees and private citizens. Today the Senate starts deciding which of those ideas is worth action as it seeks ways to cut $500-million out of the next budget.
The “Rebooting Missouri” site on the Senate webpage had attracted about 15-hundred responses as of yesterday and Senate leader Charlie Shields would not be surprised if another 300 arrive before eight special committees start work. Shields expects some immediate cost savings to be found today. But other ideas will need new laws or even constitutional changes and will take more time.
While the ideas could save money through better efficiency, Shields says better efficiency won’t save one-half billion dollars. He says there’s no way to avoid program cuts.
Governor Nixon has cut or withheld $800-million from this year’s budget because of dropping state tax income. The state budget office’s most recent pessimistic report says state income is likely to be well below the amount needed to support the original budget proposal made by the Governor in January. The consensus revenue estimate worked out between the legislature and the Nixon administration is no longer adequate.
Lawmakers have limited time to take advantage of the most feasible ideas to come forward today. The session ends in less than two months.