State budget leaders Sen. Gary Nodler, Rep. Allen Icet and office of Administration Commissioner Larry Schepker warned today that proposals to spend additional taxpayer dollars will shift the state's current budget surplus to a deficit sooner than expected. The leaders compared the state's ongoing expenditures to the state's ongoing revenue, showing in the next Fiscal Year, that if the state continues an average growth, it could not afford Nixon's plan.
Nodler says taxpayers can't afford to expand or create new programs such as the recently-proposed healthcare coverage expansion plan touted by gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon.
"Nixon's changing budget assumptions do not lend to formulating a fiscally responsible state budget, instead it is as if he is treating the budget like a Jackson Pollock painting and just throwing out numbers creating a blob of confusion," Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Nodler said. "The money to spend without consequence is not there. He is putting the cart before the horse and should take a tax increase to the voters, only if they approve it would he have the funding to expand the state's welfare rolls."
House Budget Committee Chairman Icet shared in the warning to taxpayers by adding that the amount taxpayers spend to pay for the current level of services for Medicaid recipients in FY2008 ballooned by more than $327 million dollars for FY2009, due to the high inflation of healthcare costs.
"We have made a commitment to continue to increase funding for our children's education by tens of millions of dollars every year," he said. "That large cost coupled with the higher cost of healthcare eats away any surplus money by the next fiscal year."
The budget writers presented data showing the current $833 million fund balance could be consumed to cover normal growth of operating costs in FY2009 and FY2010. Missouri is currently in FY2009, it runs from July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009.
Despite this onslaught of GOP budget bigwigs, somehow I bet Jay Nixon will survive the Democratic primary nest Tuesday.