State House Republican budget leaders believe Governor Jay Nixon’s (D) estimate of how much state revenue will grow is too optimistic, so they’re dusting off an approach they took two years ago.
In 2014, Republican budget leaders thought Nixon’s budget proposal was about $310-million dollars too high. Then-Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream proposed, and the legislature passed, a separate fund. They proposed a budget based on their own revenue estimate, but it outlined how revenue beyond their projection should be used and that it should come from the a Surplus Revenue Fund.
House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Flanigan thinks Nixon is about one percentage point too high in his projection for revenue, and he’s introduced a bill proposing the Surplus Revenue Fund again be used to rectify the situation. He also filed his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2017 – Nixon revealed his proposed budget last month.
His budget is based on projected growth of 3.1-percent. Nixon’s is based on 4.1-percent growth.
Flanigan proposes a Surplus Revenue Fund to capture as much as $195-million in revenue beyond the House’s projection. There is a difference of $91.3 million between the projection of the House and that of the governor. Flanigan says the remaining 103.7-million would be the result collections additions Nixon anticipates, including an increased federal CHIP rate and recent court settlement between the federal government and the Division of Youth Services.
Flanigan, in a press release, said if revenues come in at the higher estimate, the fund would provide another $46.6-million for K-12 education, for a proposed increase of $70-million FY 2017. It would also provide: $5-million for K-12 Foundation Transportation; $9.9-million for Higher Education Performance Funding; $4.5-million for Community College Equity; $373,979 for State Tech Equity; $4.5-million for tourism; $4-million for the state’s public defenders; and more than $104-million for Medicaid.
Flanigan’s budget outlines $27.1-million in spending in the fiscal year that begins July 1, including: $1.3-million for the 2015 Dairy Revitalization Act; a $2-million increase for river ports; a $2-million increase for business startups through the Missouri Technology Corporation; $30-million to revive the state’s cost-share program to fund transportation projects; a three-percent increase in Medicaid provider pay rates; a two-percent increase in state employee pay; a $500,000 increase for the Alternatives to Abortion program; and a $1.75-million increase to library funding beyond that proposed by the governor.
The House Budget Committee will begin working on Flanigan’s budget proposal this week. The legislature must have the budget to the governor by May 6, but Republican budget leaders want to get the budget to him earlier so the legislature can consider overriding any vetoes of budget bills before the end of the session.