To put the Fiscal Year 2015 budget back into balance and maintain Missouri’s fiscal stability, Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed $144.6 million general revenue spending and restricted $641.6 million in general revenue expenditures. Missouri’s Constitution authorizes Governors to control and reduce spending to ensure it does not exceed available revenue.
“As Governor, it’s my responsibility under the Missouri Constitution to keep the budget in balance by ensuring the spending authorized by the General Assembly does not exceed available revenue,” Gov. Nixon said. “These actions are not easy, but they are absolutely essential to putting the budget back in balance and keeping the state on a fiscally responsible path.”
The Governor cited several reasons for why the budget sent to him by the General Assembly was more than $786 million out of balance:
- The General Assembly did not account for the revenue reductions resulting from Senate Bills 693, 584, 612, 860, 727, 662 and 829, and House Bills 1865, 1296 and 1455, which contain more than a dozen special breaks for a variety of industries. If these bills were to become law, they are projected to reduce state revenue by up to $425 million annually and local revenue by up to $351 million annually, starting in the fiscal year that begins on July 1.
- The General Assembly’s budget depended on tobacco settlement payments that will not be available and tax amnesty legislation that they failed to pass. Taken together, this creates a $101.8 million budget shortfall.
- The economic uncertainty faced by all states is exacerbated in Missouri by the General Assembly’s inaction on Medicaid. On Monday, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center reported that the average health care job growth rate in states that expanded Medicaid was more than double that of Missouri’s.
- The General Assembly added funding for new programs and government buildings in the budget it passed. In total, the General Assembly added funding above the Governor’s budget recommendations for more than 100 spending items.
“While eroding our tax base with new loopholes for special interests, the legislature simultaneously littered the budget with earmarks and new government programs, demonstrating misplaced priorities and a stunning lack of fiscal restraint,” Gov. Nixon said. “It’s one of the most basic principles of responsible fiscal management: you can’t spend more than you take in. Deficit spending might be the norm out in Washington, D.C., but it is not how we operate here in Missouri.”
Gov. Nixon’s full veto messages can be found here.