Conferees from the House and Senate will get together to hammer out differences in the two chambers’ proposed spending plans this week.
House leaders say the Senate budget proposal passed a week ago spends more than the House’s, and exceeds the consensus revenue estimate that was agreed to by both chambers and the Governor in December.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) says that won’t work.
“We have no intention in the House to agree to anything that spends above what the CRE was.”
Stream says revenue is coming in ahead of estimates, but he says it would be wiser to put surplus money in the bank to be used for future emergencies, unintended consequences of legislation or to return to citizens in the form of tax cuts.
The Governor on Friday called for the restoration of $21 million in federal emergency response grants. Stream and House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) share that concern.
Jones says, “In this day and age of some of the horrible tragedies we’ve had and the terrorism activities in Boston and other places I’d be very concerned about taking away funding to homeland security and to those that are protecting us, our children and our families.”
The Senate also made several cuts in response to the ongoing controversy regarding the handling of Missourians’ personal information by the Revenue Department and the Highway Patrol. It approved cuts of $3.5 million in funding and 37 jobs in the Drivers License Division of the Revenue Department, $680,000 in postage funding for receiving licenses from a third-party printer and $7 million federal funds to the Department. $9 million was also cut from the Office of Administration’s Information Technologies department.
House Minority Leader Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) called the Senate Budget Proposal “ridiculous” and “stupid.”
“[Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt] Schaefer clearly has a vendetta. This is legislating by vendetta.”
Jones says it appears some cuts would also inadvertently stop funding for registration of boats and mobile homes, which he says, “sounds like a pretty serious miscalculation.”
The Senators and Representatives that will be on the conference committee will be announced later this week. The budget is due by the close of business on Friday, May 10.