Lawmakers & Nixon Arguing About Budget Estimates Again
January 25, 2016

(AP) – Republican lawmakers are raising concerns about Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s request to add almost half a billion dollars more to this year’s budget.
Budget officials said Medicaid accounted for about three-quarters of the budget request. Some senators asked how earlier estimates had been short by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Department of Social Services Director Brian Kinkade said more people had signed up for Medicaid than expected, and hospital visits and drug prices had increased.
Appropriation committee chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer said this was the largest mid-year budget addition he’s ever seen. He says budget additions have become routine and are being used to increase Medicaid spending without public discussion.
Nixon is asking to add $496 million to the $26 billion budget that ends June 30.

AP’s 5 Take Aways from the Missouri SOTS
January 22, 2014

1. DOLLARS AND CENTS

Lawmakers and the governor disagree about how much Missouri will have in the treasury to spend for the 2015 fiscal year. Legislative budget leaders agreed to a state revenue estimate used as a foundation for developing the budget, but the governor did not sign off on it. Lawmakers have said their estimate is $8.59 billion; Nixon’s office is using an estimate of $8.74 billion. The split means the Legislature is likely to look for places to cut from Nixon’s budget proposals.

2. SCHOOLHOUSES

Nixon is proposing a $278 million increase in basic aid for public school districts, which would move Missouri halfway toward covering an estimated $566 million shortfall of what’s called for under a state funding formula. Missouri currently provides about $3 billion annually for school districts. The governor also proposed nearly $30 million of funding increases for early childhood education and additional funding for higher education. That would include a $42 million increase for public colleges and universities distributed based upon whether they have met performance goals, nearly $20 million for schools to train more mental health professionals and a roughly $28 million increase for college scholarship programs.

3. TOUGH SELLS

Nixon is renewing his push to expand Missouri’s Medicaid health care program to more lower-income adults and to restore caps on campaign donations. Both were featured in the governor’s State of the State speech last year and neither received a warm reception from the Legislature.

4. POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE

The State of the State address is delivered before a joint legislative session in the House chamber. Governors enter the chamber through a set of double-doors in the rear, walk down the center aisle shaking hands and speak from the House dais. Previously, the speech was given during the day, but it has been held in the evening since 2005. Among those attending the speech are members of the Missouri Supreme Court, agency directors and guests specifically mentioned and introduced by the governor during his address.

5. THE REBUTTAL

House Speaker Tim Jones said in the Republican response to Nixon’s speech that Missouri needs a tax cut to compete economically with neighboring states. He said Nixon wants more of Missouri residents’ tax dollars to increase spending and grow government and Republicans will not let that happen