Republican leaders in the legislature plan to step up the budget process this year and have it done ahead of schedule.

Representative Tom Flanigan (courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Tom Flanigan (courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage) is the vice chairman of the House Budget Committee and will likely be the chairman of that committee, in the General Assembly that begins work in January.

He told Missourinet his party wants to move up the budget process by as much as three weeks and put the appropriations bills on the desk of Governor Nixon by mid-April, “Which would give plenty of time for the governor to review it while we’re still in session, and if there was an issue with any of the bills themselves, we would still have an opportunity to correct them.”

That would also means there would be time before the end of the session for the Republican-led legislature to consider overriding any vetoes Governor Nixon makes of spending proposals, or to use its new ability to overturn his decisions to restrict spending.

“When the voters passed Amendment 10, that gave us the ability to override a governor’s withholds,” said Flanigan. “Now, the governor’s withholds – some of those are very necessary. You don’t just pick a withhold and try to override it. Some of them will be necessary and some of those may not be. That will be up to the work of the legislature to determine which one of those we would override or not override.”

Flanigan says the House Budget Committee might begin meeting on the second day of session to begin organizing.

Last year the legislature and the governor were not able to agree on an estimate of what state revenue in the coming year will be, that would be used to base a proposed budget off of.

Anticipating that could happen again, Flanigan says the House and Senate have a new name for the number they’ve agreed to.

“The Senate and the House for the first time actually produced what was called a ‘General Assembly Number.’ We worked very closely with Senator [Kurt] Schaefer’s office in preparing our joint [Consensus Revenue Estimate].”

By state statute the budget for Fiscal Year 2016 must be delivered to the governor by the close of business on May 8.