Budget cutting, which began in the House, has gone deeper in the Senate. The chairman of the House Budget Committee has been watching closely the developments across the Capitol.
Governor Nixon submitted a nearly $24 billion budget to lawmakers in January, but when state revenue failed to pick up, he requested legislators cut an additional $500 million. The House cut $224 million. It appears the Senate Appropriations Committee has increased budget cuts to just over $500 million.
House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) had assured House colleagues the Senate would do what had to be done.
“There was a concern from some members that the Senate would not cut anything at all,” Icet says. “I tried to assure them that I thought the Senate would continue to cut given the budget situation, the budget that we face for the 2011 budget year and, of course, 2012 is a much larger challenge. But I thought the Senate would continue to cut a few hundred million dollars and, in fact, they are.”
Icet isn’t sure the full Senate will be able to stomach the half billion dollars in budget cuts proposed.
“And I don’t know if the Senate can actually get to that complete $500 million cut that the governor has thrown out there as a target, just because of the difficulty,” Icet says.
One of the reasons the governor has asked for $500 million in cuts is because he wants to postpone use of $300 million in federal funds until Fiscal Year 2012, to help what is expected to be an even more difficult budget year.