Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released $2.1-million that he was withholding in the current year’s budget.
House Budget Committee Vice Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) notes Nixon released money for two items that the House voted to overturn his restriction of – nearly $1-million for programs for gifted high school juniors, and to keep brain injury sufferers out of nursing homes.
The legislature was given the ability to overturn a governor’s budget restrictions with the passage by voters of Amendment 10 in 2014.
“I think he wants avoid a situation where Amendment 10 is used … where that process is completed. I don’t know what his motivations are for that,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think in reality the governor knows that the money is available.”
Fitzpatrick believes under the Constitution, Nixon doesn’t have a strong argument for continuing to withhold more than $44-million.
“We’re trending like we’re going to have an extra couple hundred million dollars at the end of this year so I think the governor is really hard-pressed to continue to withhold on any of the lines,” said Fitzpatrick.
It would first be up to the House Budget Committee Chairman, Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage), whether the legislature should attempt to override any more restrictions. Fitzpatrick said he would be for it.
“It’s getting kind of late in the (fiscal) year … some of those things we need to look at how practical it is for the departments to actually implement the override given the time we have left. I would say that I would be supportive of pushing for a few more.”