Governor Nixon is reviewing the implications of an amendment approved this week that he thinks limits his power to keep the state budget in balance.
Nixon and the Republican-dominated legislature have butted heads repeatedly about Nixon’s practice of withholding funding from projects and programs after lawmakers approve a state budget. Nixon says it’s his job to keep the state from deficit spending throughout a fiscal year. Amendment Ten, approved by 57% of the voters earlier this week, lets the legislature override his decisions to withhold.
Nixon says the present situation illustrates the challenge the legislature has created for itself and for him–a budget that requires state revenue to grow twice as fast as it is growing. “You can’t spend money we don’t have,” he says.
Lawmakers say they have been forced to put the amendment before voters because Nixon has played politics by withholding funds. Some Republicans already are talking of overriding some withholds when the new legislative session begins in January. Nixon says he’ll just do the best he can to keep the budget in balance.