State lawmakers face hours of more work trying to stitch together a state budget that might be almost a half-billion dollars short of the original proposal–and even that might not be enough.
Negotiators from the House and the Senate stayed at the Capitol for several hours Thursday instead of going home, as most of their colleagues did, to start finding agreement on differences between House and Senate versions of spending bills. They’re back at it today and will continue to work throughout the week until they figure out what to cut…and whose program should get hurt. They have plenty of time–two weeks before the law requires a budget to be passed.
But the wobbly economy and continued state income declines mean there is a certain “shot in the dark” issue involved in the negotiations.
Governor Nixon indicates he’s ready to withhold funding or veto budget provisions if lawmakers send him an unbalanced budget based on the latest financial outlook of the state. But he says he’s optimistic things will begin to improve in the last half of this calendar year.