Two state Senators have voted against every one of the budget bills to go through the state senate in the last two days. Ten Senators have voted against some of the final versions of budget bills in the Senate. But Senators Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit and Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau became the “no-to” guys.
The budget is made up of thirteen bills. The first pays the state’s debts–interest and principle on bond issues. The 13th makes sure landlords don’t kick state agencies to the curb for non-payment of rent. The other eleven bills give lawmakers varying degrees of discretion in funding programs and services. The debt payment bill never returned to the Senate because the House sent it to the Governor. Of the dozen bills that came from House and Senate compromise negotiations, Crowell voted against eleven. He did favor paying the rent. Bartle didn’t even favor that one. He was a “no” on all twelve.
Governor Nixon had asked the legislature to cut 500-million dollars from his January proposal. The Senate cut 509-million. The House cut less and the final compromise reduction was 456-million. Crowell thinks we’ll see more cuts—only the Governor will make them now. He says Nixon has only two places to go to save a lot of money–through firing more state workers or through reducing state funding of elementary and secondary education. .
Bartle has proclaimed himself as being so far right-wing that he thinks more cuts always are possible. He thinks the legislature has sent the Governor an out-of-balance budget becuase it lacks the political will to make the cuts that need to be made. Bartle thinks the governor will have to make “dramatic” withholdings before the fiscal year starts July first.
But as another Senator puts it, “It’s done, and during the summer people can make of it what they may.”