Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri State Revenue Down $79.4M from Last Year

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri State Revenue Down $79.4M from Last Year

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and the Republican- led Legislature spent months fighting over how much state revenue would increase in fiscal year 2014 but Wednesday they learned how wrong they were.

General revenue for the fiscal year that ended June 30 was down 1 percent or $79.4 million from 2013, state Budget Director Linda Luebbering announced.

The dip is even more notable considering how much growth was projected. Nixon initially projected 2.8 percent revenue growth, while the Republican-led Legislature estimated 2 percent.

That means the $8 billion in general revenue that came in was $308 million short of Nixon's estimations and $241 million short of the Legislature's projections.

This problem carries over into planning for the fiscal year that began Tuesday. About $400 million of the $786 million in general revenue Nixon either withheld or vetoed is due to the revenue miscalculation. In total, Nixon made $1.1 billion worth of budget cuts for fiscal year 2015.

Nixon said the reductions were necessary, citing tax cuts awarded by the Legislature and the failure to expand Medicaid, among other reasons.

However, House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Rick Stream, R- Kirkwood, said the 10 tax break bills passed by the Legislature which Nixon vetoed would increase revenues this fiscal year if the vetoes are overridden.

The bills, which offered tax breaks to dry cleaners, restaurants and power companies, for example, could help private sector businesses expand, hiring more employees in the process, Stream said.

"It's the only way we can get business owners out of the recession," Stream said. "They could then create jobs so people can go back to work: That's where we're going to get money for our government in Missouri."

Stream said he would support trying to override Nixon's vetoes of the 10 bills, but the Legislature needs to look at each bill and discuss the logistics. …

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