After a long road of hard work and incredibly difficult decisions, Missouri has a budget in place for the new fiscal year. As chairman of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee, I have seen firsthand the COVID-19 virus’ devastating effect on our state’s bottom line. Despite the virus’ impact on our state’s spending plan for 2020-2021, I firmly believe the budget in place funds the priorities of our state.
A nearly one-year process came to a conclusion on June 30, when the governor signed the 13 appropriations measures that comprise the budget for the state’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. Funding for the state operating budget comes from income taxes, fees and federal funding. A team of individuals from the Missouri Senate, Missouri House of Representatives and the executive branch pour over thousands of individual line items for many months before delivering a budget to the governor for his consideration.
The operating budget for Fiscal Year 2021 totals $35.3 billion. Despite the fact we were able to do some forward thinking last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a large chunk of money away from the state, and we have had to budget based on an economy that went from red-hot to severely damaged in a matter of weeks. Because of these challenges, the governor was forced to veto approximately $11 million in spending and withhold another $448 million. Withholdings can be replaced later in the budget year, if revenues increase, though.
By making difficult decisions and utilizing federal funding, I believe lawmakers were able to pass a budget that ensures our government remains open, funded and able to serve the citizens of our great state. As we move forward, it is possible the governor’s withholds will not be enough and further cuts to the state’s 2021 spending plan will have to be made. I pray this doesn’t happen, but we must be prepared for this incase our state’s economy doesn’t immediately bounce back.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is email@example.com and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.