Governor Jay Nixon told Missourians this summer he was freezing $400-million in the state’s Fiscal Year 2014 operating budget pending the outcome of his veto of a tax cut bill, HB 253. Nixon said that bill could result in a hole in the budget of $800-million dollars or more and called the withholds a “down payment” on that possibility.
Now that the legislature has failed to overturn that veto, House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) is calling on Nixon to release that money.
“He should release all of it or almost all of it … when I say almost all of it, no more than 3 percent of that $400-million should be kept and that’s what, $12-million dollars? The rest of it I think should be released.”
Stream explained that the Governor in any given year will keep 2 to 3 percent in reserves.
Nixon told reporters during the veto session that he will release some of that money “quickly,” but said that some of it might not be released. He did not go into detail.
Stream says if it isn’t all freed, the Governor must start with education.
“Initial funding for K-12 and higher education, also the provider rate increases for the handicapped and the mental illness funding that we increased. I would hope that he would release those funds first.”
The money withheld included 100-million dollars for K-12 and higher education, 45-million for a Medicaid provider increase and 14-million for raises for state employees, as well as money for improvements to the State Capitol and to design a replacement for Fulton State Mental Hospital.