A Missouri lawmaker who will chair a key House Appropriations Subcommittee warns the budget will be tight in 2017.
Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) has selected State Rep. Craig Redmon (R-Canton) to chair a House appropriations subcommittee that will handle budgets for six state departments: Agriculture, Conservation, Natural Resources (DNR), Revenue, Transportation and Economic Development.
Redmon expects a tough budget year.
“New decision items are going to be hard to come by, so we’ll just have to think smarter and do better going forward and I think that we can,” says Redmon.
Missouri has about a $27 billion state budget. Outgoing Governor Jay Nixon (D) announced $51 million in spending restrictions earlier this month. Nixon attributed the shortage of money to a steep drop in corporate tax collections, which he blames on changes in tax policy.
Redmon previously chaired a House appropriations committee that oversaw budgets for Agriculture, Conservation and DNR. Missourinet asked Redmon about his priorities for his revised subcommittee in 2017.
“My priorities are just efficiencies in each one of those departments and making sure that we are spending the taxpayers’ dollar as wisely as we possibly can,” Redmon says.
Redmon says economic development and agriculture “go hand-in-hand.” Redmon notes agriculture is Missouri’s number one industry. Despite that, it has one of the smallest budgets in state government, at $53.2 million.
While there were seven Missouri House appropriations committees in 2016, Speaker Richardson has reduced that to five subcommittees.
Redmon also wants DNR to keep lawmakers informed about parkland purchases. He says another legislator informed him about DNR’s recent decision to purchase 8,000 additional acres. Redmon tells Missourinet he spoke to Governor-Elect Eric Greitens (R) about the purchase Monday evening.
“That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to,” Redmon says. “I think there will be a lot better line of communication now with Governor Greitens and his office, so I don’t look forward to having this problem in the future with the governor’s office.”
DNR used settlement money from mining companies and state park funds to purchase the land, for about $14 million. The proposed state parks would be located in southern Missouri’s Taney, Douglas and Oregon counties.
Redmon, who ran unopposed in November, was elected to the Missouri House in 2010. He’ll begin his fourth and final House term in January. He represents Adair, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Schuyler and Scotland counties in northeast Missouri.