Gov. Mike Parson’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year is nearly $53 billion, about $1 billion higher than the current budget.

Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The panel reviews the governor’s budget proposal and decides what and how public money is doled out.

He told Missourinet a lot of that money is spilling over from previous years.

“That means that projects that take multiple years to get done, like say I-70, there’s almost $3 billion still associated with that that’s built into the budget. Okay? We have about $100 million health lab for our Department of Health that is going to be built over the next few years. So, there’s a lot of things like that,” said Hough.

Hough reiterates that in the last three budget years, Missouri’s state budget has been ‘inflated’ with one-time federal dollars because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On growing state revenue, Hough said that’s partially due to more people working and spending their leisure time in the state.

“We cut over $1 billion, a billion dollars, in individual income taxes about 18 months ago. Okay? When you do that and you have a growing and robust economy, you have more people working. So, more taxes are actually collected, even though individuals are paying a lesser amount, if that makes sense.”

Hough said Missouri’s economy is growing by leaps and bounds. He said that ‘conservative practices’ are the reason Missouri’s economy has grown.

“I believe the governor said there have been three substantial tax cuts since he’s been in the governor’s office. Sen. Luetkemeyer led the charge last year to cut about $320 worth of Social Security taxes that were collected that are no longer collected on those individuals that received those benefits. So, yes, there is kind of some organic growth when you have a growing and vibrant economy,” said Hough.

He said that he stands behind the budget that passes and ultimately reaches the Senate floor.

“You’re talking to the guy who stood on the senate floor at 2:30 in the morning last year when we were perfecting this answering questions from various senators who had a question about this line and a question about that line. I have no problem walking through this however long it takes us to do that and defending what we’re spending the tax dollars that are entrusted to us on,” said Hough.

Parson’s budget outline proposes to leave about $1.5 billion on the bottom line.

“Essentially meaning, it’s not spent. IT’s not in an account to be utilized somewhere else. It’s just revenues that are not spent. The aforementioned slush fund was not proposed in this year’s budget. I don’t think it was proposed in last year’s budget from the administration. So, I think that ship has kind of sailed, but planning for the future is never a bad thing,” said Hough.

The Missouri House and Senate committees that control the state’s purse strings will hold hearings this week on the governor’s budget proposal.

Earlier story:

Parson delivers “Putting People First” State of the State address

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