Republican legislative budget leaders say they don’t know why Governor Nixon is blocking the spending of $46-million in the current budget. They tell Missourinet the state has more than six-times that in surplus.
Nixon says he’s going to block that spending – nearly $16.8-million of it for several health care provider rate increases – because a court ruling means Missouri likely won’t receive $50-million of tobacco settlement money this fiscal year that he and lawmakers both counted on.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said budget restrictions are not necessary.
“Particularly because he’s still sitting on $325-million that was a surplus at the end of the last budget year, that we did not spend in this year’s budget,” said Schaefer.
House Budget Committee Vice-Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick said that would mean the restrictions announced Monday by Nixon aren’t constitutional.
“We’re bringing in revenue in excess of what the budget requires, so per the Constitution those budget withholds shouldn’t be occurring,” said Fitzpatrick.
Nixon says the restrictions are necessary to protect the state’s AAA credit rating.