Governor Nixon appreciates the work of the House on the $23 billion dollar state budget, but says more work will be needed in the Senate for the budget to balance.
Nixon says the House took some solid steps in dealing with the tax revenue shortfall, but the legislature isn’t at the finish line yet. The House cut $224 million from the budget Nixon submitted. Nixon has since revised his revenue estimate and stated $500 million must be cut from that budget. Nixon won’t agree with House leaders that they have approved a balanced budget.
“I appreciate what they’ve done to move the process forward,” Nixon says. “I think that looking at what the revenues are going to come in I do believe that the Senate is going to have to cut more, not only that $300 million, but some other resources. The $300 million they put in the budget, we don’t have.”
That $300 million has become an issue. Congress promised the money as part of the package approved to prop up state budgets throughout the country and avoid deeper cuts at the state level. It was to come in addition to $900 million in federal funds being used for the next fiscal year. Yet, the additional $300 million has gotten caught up in the politics of Capitol Hill. In light of the uncertainty of the additional funding, Nixon has proposed the money, if it indeed comes in, be used in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Nixon had included the money in the budget he first proposed.
Nixon had proposed an $18 million increase in education funding. The House initially added $105 million dollars to the formula that determines state public school funding. It has taken that increase out and proposed school funding be frozen at current levels. Nixon says that might be proper level for funding since all other state programs and services are being cut.
“I think that in order to get a balanced budget to my desk, there will have to be additional cuts in the Senate,” Nixon says.
The House approved the budget before wrapping up its workweek. Budget work now shifts to the Senate as it considers the 13 budget bills. The legislature must complete its budget work by May 7th. It goes into effect when the state fiscal year begins July 1st.