A new report claims the state faces an uphill battle in offsetting a deficit.

The Missouri Budget Project, which studies tax policy, says revenues will need to grow 6.5 percent to cover the budget approved by the legislature for the current fiscal year.  Its analysis shows projected expansion of 4.1 percent will leave the state with a $216 million hole.

Amy Blouin, the group’s executive director, doubts revenues will increase enough to fill the gap.  “It would be extremely unusual for to us reach 6 percent growth throughout the remainder of the year said Blouin.   “The 4 percent growth is much more likely.  The fact that we ended the previous fiscal year with less money than what was anticipated started us out with a hole, which makes it more challenging.”

Governor Nixon withheld $115 million to help counter the shortfall from last year.  But lawmakers who oppose some of those cuts could override his actions in the upcoming veto session, which would return $60 million to the deficit column.

Blouin contends state services will suffer if the budget hole’s not addressed.  She’s suggested taxing online purchases in Missouri to boost revenues, a practice done in about half the states across the country.

Blouin claims the state loses $358 million every year without taxation of online purchases.   Some lawmakers have embraced the levy.