State legislators prepare to hear Governor Greitens’ State of the State address – without his budget requests. The speech has traditionally included the governor’s proposed budget, but Greitens plans to wait until February to release those details.
He announced Wednesday the hiring of Missouri’s first chief operating officer. Drew Erdmann, with a management consulting firm for governments and non-governmental organizations, assumes the position. It’s unknown how involved Erdmann will be in the budget process.
Missouri House Minority Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) says not hearing Greitens’ budget suggestions on Tuesday will delay the legislature’s budget work.
“I wish we were going to hear something on our budget. That’s always been, in the last few years, one of their priorities is getting the budget started early. We already know we’re not going to hear that and that’s a problem,” says McCann Beatty.
House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) is not worried about the hold up.
“We will be more than prepared to deliver a balanced budget within the constitutional timeline,” says Richardson.
House budget committee chair Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) says he won’t speculate where FY18 reductions will occur, until he hears Greitens’ proposed budget.
“We will pass a balanced budget. We’ll get it done, just like we always do. It’s just going to be tougher,” says Fitzpatrick.
The current fiscal year has been challenging for legislative budget leaders and additional restrictions are looming. Then-Governor Jay Nixon (D) withheld about $200 million in the budget. Fitzpatrick tells Missourinet that the state is facing about a $200 million gap that Greitens is projected to close to balance the FY2017 budget.
Richardson says Greitens’ speech will instead focus on policy. Republicans hope to hear about changes to laws on labor, ethics, education and the civil justice system involving tort cases or damages.
Listen to live coverage of the State of the State address on Tuesday on Missourinet.com and ABC 17. Joey Parker of ABC 17 and Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth begin their preview at 6:45 p.m.
Continue to follow our coverage on Wednesday, as we bring you the response of legislators from around the state.