A top Republican budget maker says the $115.5-million in spending freezes made by Governor Jay Nixon (D) in the state budget that kicked in Friday are necessary.
House Budget Committee Vice Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) said state revenues have come in slowly enough that the governor had to stop some of the spending planned out in the state budget.
“We’ve often criticized him because he has sometimes withheld for political reasons or withheld far in excess of what was necessary at certain times, but this is not one of those times and I think he had to do what he had to do,” said Fitzpatrick. “The reality is that revenues ended really poorly at the end of last month and until we have a little more data going into FY 17, the governor had to do that.”
Fitzpatrick says it’s too early to tell whether the state’s revenue will turn around enough to reverse these restrictions.
“We came up pretty short for the end of last year but if we come out and tear it apart in July and grow by a large number in July and that carries into August and September then I think that you could look at potentially getting to a place where some of those releases could occur,” said Fitzpatrick.
He did say he’s disappointed at where some of the spending restrictions were made. Specifically he noted, “Alternatives to abortion got withheld … some of the capital improvement projects are going to be restricted.”