A state lawmaker who helped develop Missouri’s budget during the last recession wants to be the state Senate’s next budget leader. Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) currently serves as the Appropriations Committee’s vice chair. He hopes to replace outgoing Budget Committee Chair and Columbia Republican Senator Kurt Schaefer.

Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City)

“We’re staring down another deficit. There’s been a lot of turnover in government. With term limits, with the new administration coming in, believe it or not I’m the only person in state government who’s actually written a state budget before. All the others have term limited out,” says Silvey.

He blames increasing costs of entitlement programs, particularly Medicaid, for Missouri’s budget deficit. According to Silvey, the programs have outgrown budget estimates by several hundreds of millions of dollars in the middle of the fiscal year.

“Getting a handle on those programs is going to be key or we’re always going to be underwater moving forward,” says Silvey.

He says the state budget process has been his focus. Silvey has chaired or vice chaired an appropriations-related committee during 10 of his 12 years in the legislature.

“When I was budget chairman in the House, it was during the two deepest years of the last recession. In one year, I think we cut close to a billion dollars out. The deficit we’re looking at I think is a fraction of that,” says Silvey. “But having gone through that experience and balance the budget during the worst part of the recession, I certainly think that I would have the perspective to be able to handle this one as well.”

The Senate President Pro Tem must appoint a chair, which will likely happen in early January.