House Republicans continue to criticize Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed budget, saying he has promised 140-million dollars in funding that they don’t believe the state has.
House Budget Committee member Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) voiced those concerns in a hearing Thursday to Budget Director Linda Luebbering, saying it isn’t that he disagrees with the priorities the Governor has for spending more money.
“Obviously being from Columbia, the University funding is a great thing … I get all that. I’m just concerned, number one, it is obvious that this budget is unrealistic. Blatantly obvious.”
The House and Senate, led by Republicans, project that in the fiscal year that begins July 1 state revenue will grow by about $8.6-billion dollars. The Nixon Administration projects $8.73-billion in growth.
Rowden says the House and Senate appropriations chairmen’s estimate is backed up by analysts with the University of Missouri.
Luebbering defends the Nixon Administration projection, saying they got their information from experts, too.
“We believe that the economic data does support the estimate that we’re using,” Leubbering says. “Based on input that we’ve received from several national economists, we believe that our estimate is realistic.”
Representative Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) is also a budget committee member. He says the fault is Nixon’s, but it is also that of House and Senate budget chairmen.
“I think that’s a comprehensive failure because it means the term ‘balanced budget’ has no meaning,” says Kelly.
Having said that, though, Kelly says Republicans are just politicizing the issue by attacking Nixon publicly saying that his budget is unrealistic.
“There’s every bit as much reason to believe we the General Assembly are wrong, and it’s something that we ought not cloud with politics.”