Kansas Legislatures Starts with Another Tight Budget
January 11, 2016

Kansas legislators face closing a projected $190 million shortfall in the budget for the state’s next fiscal year as they opened their annual session.

The Republican-dominated House and Senate were convening Monday afternoon for the session’s first day.

GOP leaders were hoping Republicans could avoid the infighting that made last year’s session the longest ever at 114 days. Sessions are typically scheduled for 90 days, but top Republicans hope this year’s will be 80 or even fewer days.

The projected deficit is the gap between anticipated revenues and spending already approved under the $15.8 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Republican legislators last year closed a bigger shortfall by raising sales and cigarette taxes. GOP Gov. Sam Brownback has ruled out further tax increases this year.

Nixon Releases Money
April 3, 2015

(AP) – State building repairs, technology startups, local libraries and university programs are among the programs that will share $43 million in funding released by Missouri’s governor.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon said Friday that he plans to release $43 million of funds immediately after the state took in higher general revenues in March.

General revenues increased from March 2014 by 25 percent, bringing the year-to-date increase to 6.8 percent.

Budget director Linda Luebbering says part of the difference is due to a lawsuit settlement and other one-time changes but mainly it was a good month for economic growth.

The money includes $7 million for the Missouri Technology Corporation, a public-private partnership to promote technology start-ups.

And about $5.8 million will go to public libraries across the state.

Nixon Sets Election Dates for Missouri Ballot Measures
May 23, 2014

(AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday referred five measures to the August primary ballot while leaving three proposed constitutional amendments for the November election.

Voters consider constitutional amendments endorsed by the Legislature in November unless the governor sets a different date. Nixon’s office says it put several measures on the August ballot because of the large number of issues referred to this year’s ballot.

Here are the issues voters will see on ballots this year:

Aug 5:

TRANSPORTATION SALES TAX: Proposes a three-quarters cent sales tax increase for roads and other transportation projects that is projected to raise $534 million annually for a decade. It would be the largest tax increase in state history and would help a transportation system facing declining funds.

GUNS: Defines the right to bear arms as “unalienable” and would require the state to defend against any “infringement.” It would include the keeping of ammunition and defending one’s family with a firearm as constitutional rights. The Missouri Constitution already protects the right to bear arms in defense of one’s home, property and person. Supporters contend the proposal would force courts to use a higher standard of review when considering constitutionality of gun controls.

FARMING: Establishes the right to farm within the Missouri Constitution.

VETERANS LOTTERY TICKETS: Directs the Lottery Commission to develop a new lottery ticket to benefit state veterans homes.

ELECTRONIC PRIVACY: Adds electronic communications and data as things protected from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Nov. 4:

EARLY VOTING: Permits early voting for six business days ending the Wednesday before an election. In-person ballots would be cast during the regular business hours of local election officials, who would be barred from activities or incurring expenses for early voting unless funding is included in the state budget.

BUDGET: Gives the Legislature new authority to override gubernatorial budget cuts.

CHILD SEX ABUSE: Allows evidence about prior criminal acts to be used against people facing prosecution for child sex offenses.

Missouri Economy May Surge by Almost 5%, But State Budget May Not Show Same Bounce
December 19, 2012

(AP) — Missouri budget officials are forecasting continued growth in state revenues for the next fiscal year.
Gov. Jay Nixon and legislative budget leaders said Tuesday they are projecting a 3.1 percent increase in state revenues for the annual budget that starts July 1. They said the expected net general revenues of $7.9 billion will mean another year of “fiscal discipline.”
State officials expect an economic growth rate of 4.8 percent. But state revenues are expected to rise by just 3.1 percent because of the continued phase-out of Missouri’s corporate income tax, the loss of one-time funding sources and changes to federal payroll taxes.
The consensus revenue estimate will be used as the basis for a budget presented in January by Nixon and considered by lawmakers.

Nixon and Silvey Clash on Budget for Blind
March 14, 2012

(AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon sought to enlist public support for reversing a proposed cut in assistance to the blind Tuesday, decrying it as “dead wrong.”
But the top Republican House budget writer responded quickly, suggesting the Democratic governor was grandstanding and noting that no one from Nixon’s administration has asked him to restore funding for the blind assistance program.
The budget dustup comes after the House Budget Committee recently voted to cut the Supplemental Aid to the Blind while reversing Nixon’s proposed cuts to public colleges and universities. The $30 million assistance program for the blind covers medical care for more than 2,800 blind people who earn too much to qualify for the Medicaid program for the poor. However, House budget writers set aside $6 million for a slimmed-down assistance program for the blind.
In addition, the House panel’s budget plan calls for higher education institutions generally to get what they are receiving currently. Nixon in January proposed a cut of $106 million, and a month later announced plans to soften the cut by using $40 million from an anticipated national settlement with mortgage lenders.
Nixon said Tuesday many blind Missourians rely on aid for health care costs and trimming the aid would force people to decide between paying for medication and food or between seeing their doctor and paying electric bills. He called for state lawmakers to reverse the budget cut and said he’s not interested in negotiating to restore a smaller portion.
“Gutting health care for needy, blind Missourians isn’t the way to fund higher education,” Nixon said. “It isn’t the way to move our state forward. And it’s just not the right thing to do.”
Nixon said university leaders were not clamoring to have budgets increased at the expense of aid to the blind. He spoke to dozens of people from a podium set up in the parking lot of Services for Independent Living in Columbia, which promotes independent living for people with disabilities.
House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey said education funding is his top priority for the 2013 budget that takes effect July 1. In a letter to Nixon sent Tuesday, Silvey said the governor’s cuts to education have been “unsustainable and counterproductive to our state’s economic recovery.”
“When you have finished with your press conferences and campaign rallies and decide that you would like to show me where else we can make cuts in your administration so you can fund both education and welfare, I am ready and willing to have that conversation,” wrote Silvey, R-Kansas City. “Continuing the assault on education unabated, however, is not an option.”
Silvey said the $6 million reserved for blind Missourians by the budget panel is designed for a transitional program with an income test that is focused on serving people whose incomes make them the closest to eligibility for Medicaid benefits. He said the funding would be enough to provide full medical benefits for about 600 people.