The Chairman of the House Budget Committee has said since the night Governor Jay Nixon (D) unveiled his proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget that it was about $310-million out of balance. Now, Representative Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) has rejected the Governor’s proposal and is instead going to work on a new spending plan using the current Fiscal Year’s budget as his starting point.
For the first time in ten years, the budget leaders in the House and the Senate and the Governor’s Office did not reach agreement on a projection of how much general revenue will grow over the current year. Stream says he has taken the budget bills that were passed by lawmakers in May, 2013 and has built-in part of that the amount the legislative budget leaders think the budget will grow by.
“I’ve just made an estimate of where I think the additional funding, over-and-above what last year’s bills were, where we can spend the money,” says Stream. “It’s just a guideline for the (budget subcommittees) to work from.”
Stream says it will be up to the various House budget subcommittees to decide what changes to make from last year’s budget.
“I want the committees to do the work. To have hearings and look at every single line in their two or three budget bills that they’re responsible for.”
Nixon’s proposal included an overall $489-million dollar proposed increase in education funding including $278-million for K-12 public schools. Stream proposes over Fiscal Year 2014 amounts an increase of $317-million to education. How much of that would go to K-12 schools is one of the things Stream is leaving up to the education subcommittee chairman.
“Obviously the foundation formula (for K-12 schools) is going to get an increase. It won’t be the $278-million the Governor proposed. It will be something less than that.”
Stream also proposes increases of $56.8-million for general administration, $132.6-million for health, mental health and social services, $13-million for Public safety and corrections, $15.6-million for revenue transportation & economic development and $5.6-million for agriculture and natural resources.
Stream says those don’t account for all of the revenue increase the legislative budget leaders are projecting.
“You always hold back because things come up that you don’t foresee,” says Stream. “Kind of like a cash reserve fund in the budget office.”