Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) proposed spending plan for the new fiscal year includes an attempt to get around restrictions placed on him by voters.
Missouri voters changed the Constitution last year to give the legislature new powers to override a governor’s budget restrictions. Another part of that amendment said a governor can’t include in his budget proposals money based on the passage of legislation that hasn’t passed, as Nixon has done in past years.
Nixon attempts to get around that by issuing with his budget proposal a proclamation. His budget director Linda Luebbering says that outlines 3 things he wants the legislature to pass, and how money resulting from their passage could be used.
“Even though that revenue is not included in his budget, he is suggesting where that money should go,” said Luebbering.
For example, Nixon said in his State of the State Address he is proposing $150-million for K-12 education, but only $50-million of that is actually in the budget.
“There’s $21-million through school district trust fund payments, and then an additional $79-million that the governor is proposing in the proclamation if the legislature approves the necessary legislation.”
That “necessary legislation” includes Medicaid expansion, which the Republican supermajorities in both chambers largely oppose.
Luebbering says Nixon’s approach doesn’t violate that Constitutional amendment. “He can certainly ask the legislature to pass any legislation, but he just cannot count on it in his actual budget,” said Luebbering.
Nixon also calls on lawmakers to pass tax amnesty legislation, which in past years has passed the House and the Senate but has never become law, and to authorize reforms in collections to bring in back taxes. In all he writes the three measures would generate $178-million dollars.
Besides K-12 education proposes expanding that money on things including performance and equity funding for higher education, a rate increase for long-term care and community service providers in the Medicaid program, and dental benefits for existing adult Medicaid clients.