Nixon freezes school funding in budget war

By David Knopf-News Editor

Governor Jay Nixon and the Missouri State Legislature continue to fire political salvos across each other’s bows, among them Nixon’s announcement in June he would freeze $786.2 million in state spending.

Among the money withheld is $100 million in additional funding for the K-12 school finance formula for 2014-15, $15 million in transportation funding and $3 million in provisionally accredited and unaccredited preschool programs.

Nixon said the funds were being withheld in response to the Republican-controlled Legislature’s decision on the final day of its 2014 session to grant sales-tax exemptions to selected businesses.

The exemptions came after the Legislature had approved a state budget, one that included the additional funding for the school formula.

Nixon said the exemptions and new GOP-supported state programs would take a bite out of state revenues in 2014-15 and leave the budget “dangerously out of balance.”

“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,” 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.”

In his announcement June 24, Nixon 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.

The complete story is in the Monday, July 7, 2014 Richmond News.

Click here for our E-edition and read the rest of the story.

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