Veteran state legislators cannot remember lawmakers ever finishing their budget work a week before the deadline. They’ve done it this year—maybe, says Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Mayer of Dexter, because there is so little money to fight about.
The governor had asked the legislature last month to cut one-half billion dollars from his January recommendations. Lawmakers almost made it but have come up about 15-million dollars short.
The budget going to the governor totals 23.3 billion dollars.
Governor Nixon has the constitutional authority to keep the budget balanced throughout the fiscal year (that starts July 1). He can veto some expenditures outright or he can withhold funds as necessary throughout the year. This year his vetoes and withholdings have increased to about $900 million. The most recent withholding were announced last week after the latest reports on tax collections indicated state income continues to sink.