While the Missouri House was passing a $29.2 billion budget plan Thursday, Gov. Mike Parson said in Columbia that he’s no longer certain state revenues will rebound enough to meet expectations.
Through Wednesday, state revenues are down 4.3 percent for the fiscal year while the budget plan calls for tax receipts to grow 1.7 percent by the time the year ends June 30. State revenues have lagged behind expectations all year and time is running out for an expected surge in tax payments accompanying income tax returns.
Parson spoke to reporters after giving a speech to a University of Missouri Extension Council workshop.
“I think revenues are going to get better,” Parson said. “I think it's a little too early yet. I don't think anybody knows."
The House-passed budget includes a $61 million increase for public school funding through the state foundation formula, no general increase for public colleges and universities and a new appropriation of $100 million in general revenue for the state road fund.
The appropriation for the Missouri Department of Transportation may, however, be in trouble in the Senate. The Associated Press reported Thursday that
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said he wants to compromise with the House on a way to pay for transportation maintenance. He said he still prefers borrowing money through bonding to fund bridge repairs.
In his State of the State Address, Parson proposed borrowing $351 million through a bond issue that would be repaid from general revenue. The money would finance repairs on 250 bridges and allow money allocated to those projects to be redirected to road needs that draw federal matching funds.
Many items in the budget could face cuts if revenues do not improve, said state Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia and the ranking minority member of the House Budget Committee.
“It is an unfortunate position,” Kendrick said. “We are just holding our breath right now.”
If the revenue picture does not improve, Kendrick said, Parson is likely to announce cuts early in the new fiscal year.
There are some cushions built into the budget that could mitigate the need for cuts, Kendrick said.
To prepare for a possible shortfall, the House budget spends $103 million less in general revenue than Parson’s original proposal and $511 million less overall. In addition, he noted, Parson’s proposal set aside a large amount for supplemental spending needs.
The plan proposed by Parson left $200 million for supplemental needs and anticipated $100 million would be left on June 30, 2020.
“I don’t know that it is necessarily enough to make up for the loss of revenue,” Kendrick said.