The House has voted to release nearly $1 million withheld by Governor Nixon in this fiscal year’s budget. It’s the first time that the body has exercised the constitutional power that voters approved in 2014, giving the Legislature the authority to overturn budget restrictions made by the Governor.
If the Senate agrees, the money would go to a program for gifted high school students, the Missouri State University Fine Arts Academy and for a program for those with brain injuries.
Senate Budget Leader Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) said the Governor is withholding money from programs important to Missourians.
“Keep in mind, the Governor does these withholds from things like the brain injury fund, scholars academy and a whole lot of other things that affect a broad base of Missourians because he’s using that money to feed that Medicaid growth,” said Schaefer.
Nixon said the restrictions were necessary to keep the budget balanced.
“The Legislature has increased funding for K-12 schools and higher education, I think, every single year except for maybe one since I’ve been here. The Governor takes that increase every year, almost all of it. It goes toward Medicaid,” said Schaefer.
Nixon’s budget request for FY 2017 includes spending $377 million more for Medicaid. Schaefer said the Governor wants extravagant welfare increases, citing a 32% increase in general revenue growth in one year.