(In his latest newsletter, Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, responds to Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State message.)
During the annual State of the State Address, Governor Nixon proposed the largest budget in state history while continuing to withhold $134 million from the current fiscal year. The governor started this budget process by throwing economic predictions to the wind and opting to write a budget based on his own optimistic and unrealistic growth predictions. For the state to receive enough revenue to fund the governor’s budget we would need more than 6 percent growth in the next fiscal year. Year-to-date, we have seen 1.32 percent growth. I felt that during the State of the State I needed to keep looking for the Leprechaun in the room because based on the Governor's over-inflated budget proposal I assumed he must have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? As you can see from the following quote from my friend House Budget Chairman Rick Stream this is not a first time offense for Governor Nixon, but it is by far his worst.
“In the six years that the governor has presented a budget to the legislature he has made a habit out of over-promising and under-delivering,” said House Budget Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood).
Every single year this governor has made budget withholds despite promising the moon and stars to every interest group during his State of the State address. This year is different only because it is the most egregious. Earlier this week as I listened to the governor promise hundreds of millions of dollars to at least half a dozen different state programs, the money for which, House and Senate economists have agreed that we do not have. I have to come to the conclusion that just as in the past the Governor’s intentions are to try and overinflate the budget so he can once again “cherry pick” withholding funding stating that we don’t have the revenue to support the appropriation for his own personal interests. I would go as far to say you could question if in doing so he is abusing his authority and could even be violating the Constitution of Missouri that he has taken an oath of office to uphold! When I visited with the Budget Chairman this was his response.
“The Consensus Revenue Process has been used for decades to reach an agreement about what the upcoming fiscal year will bring. By offering a budget that predicts higher growth Nixon is attempting to increase his budgetary oversight and allow himself to withhold more money if the Missouri does not reach the projected revenue levels.” Rep. Stream emphasized that “the House will budget based on the revenue projection that the House and Senate agreed upon in December. The projection includes a 2 percent revised CRE for FY14 and a 4.2 percent CRE for FY2015.”
While I like other House Republicans believe we should invest in education, core infrastructure and those in the most need, we must continue to do those things in a responsible fashion; we must continue to offer a balanced, fiscally responsible budget to protect the future of Missouri. The Budget is constitutionally required to be voted on by May 9th, at 5 p.m.