Instead of the old-fashioned Missouri State of the State address with the governor’s fiscal year state budget proposal, Governor Greitens will release his spending plan in southwest Missouri’s Nixa on Thursday at a public school for special needs students. His first State of the State address was held earlier this month among state lawmakers without the traditional release of the next proposed budget.

Gov. Greitens

Members of the Missouri legislature have been chomping at the bit to get started on the next budget, but have been waiting to hear from the governor on his appropriations priorities. In a press release today from Greitens’ office, he says his spending plan protects his top priorities of increasing jobs, higher pay, safer streets and better schools.

“This address in Nixa is a reminder of who we’re fighting for. We’re fighting for the kids in towns and cities across our state who don’t have a lobbyist. Children with special needs, whose parents need jobs to provide for them,” says Greitens. “Families that need to know that the men and women of law enforcement have the tools and training to protect them. That’s who we’re fighting for every day.”

Greitens is number crunching his first state budget and it’s a challenging one. Earlier this month, he withheld about $146 million in the current fiscal year’s budget with roughly $80 million affecting higher education. Greitens says about $700 million in cuts are necessary over the next 18 months in order to balance the budget.

“Our state’s budget affects real people. And we take that responsibility seriously. It’s our job to decide how to distribute the money that comes in, and the truth is, less money is coming in. More and more of it is automatically put towards things like insider tax credits and costly health care spending,” says Greitens.

Missouri’s current fiscal year budget is about $27 billion.