State government money-watchers think the fiscal picture might be slightly better in the budget year that starts next week. But state agencies that have taken more budget cuts should not expect to get that money restored in the next 12 months.
The governor has cut 280-million dollars out of programs and services for the fiscal year starting a week from Thursday although his budget director forecasts a two to five percent increase in state income.in the coming fiscal year. Budget director Linda Luebbering says the increased income COULD be used to restore cuts. But restoration is unlikely “I don’t anticipate that happening,” she says.
One reason restorations are not expected is because of an even grimmer outlook for the fiscal year that starts a year from now. By then Missouri will lose an estimated $900-million in federal stimulus and stabilization dollars that are propping up some programs and services now. Holding back $280-million in fiscal 2011 will somewhat soften the impact of the $900 million not available in fiscal 2012. But even if the $280 million in reductions stay permanent, the budget for fiscal ’12 will be about $500 million.
Congress is considering giving the state 300-million dollars in Medicaid funding, which would close the hole some more…but Luebbering still projects a hole hundreds of millions of dollars deep.