Legislative budget leaders begin work this week with Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) budget proposal, but say he’s “playing games” with the projection of how much revenue the state will have to spend.
In a joint statement, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) and House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage) said after their chambers had reached a “tentative” agreement with the governor on a revenue estimate for Fiscal Year 2017. They say Nixon’s budget proposal included $100-million in additional revenue – roughly one-percent more revenue than in that estimate.
“It’s almost impossible to work with a governor who agrees to a revenue number only to increase it significantly just six weeks later, but these are the kinds of games we have been subjected to during his time in office,” said Schaefer.
Schaefer questioned Nixon’s acting budget director, Dan Haug, about the issue in a Senate budget committee hearing. Haug explained a large part of that was federal reimbursement for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and told Schaefer it was, “probably my fault,” that the House and Senate were not told about that money in December when the revenue estimate was being considered.
Flanigan said the House will file Wednesday a proposed budget that he says will, for the first time in several years, be based on the governor’s budget recommendations.
“The governor has a budget based on numbers that we think are unrealistic, which means we will have our work cut out for us as we do our best to transform his proposal into a fiscally responsible spending plan,” said Flanigan.
Missourinet will have additional stories on the budget as the legislature is starting work on it this week.