Budget Battle Breakdown
When entering into an argument, it is necessary to have a common ground from which to argue. For example, in arguing about whether the Cardinals or Royals will have a better season, it is necessary to agree that Major League Baseball will actually be played this year. If you can’t agree on that, it pretty much makes any further discussion useless. A similar (but by no means exactly the same) situation is occurring in Jefferson City this year, but instead of arguing about baseball, there is an argument about the state budget.
Every year there are arguments about the budget. Every department wants everything on its wish list and there is only a finite amount of money. Some (like yours truly) argue that certain programs shouldn’t even exist. However, things have started to degenerate. Now it seems that the governor and the legislature cannot agree about how much money there even is to dole out. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is much more bullish about the future of the state’s revenue collection. He expects revenues to grow by 5.2 percent this year. Conversely, the legislature believes the state’s revenues will grow by only 4.2 percent. That seems like small potatoes but the difference in terms of actual dollars is in the hundreds of millions.
The fact that the legislature and the governor haven’t settled on a consensus revenue estimate is newsworthy because these types of disagreements are rare. However, this disagreement isn’t a cause to panic. The House will mark up its own appropriations bills and the budgeting process will continue. It’s just disappointing to see that governor and legislature can’t seem to agree on a revenue estimate, which is probably one of the more straightforward, less partisan issues. Hopefully, next year, both sides can agree on a number. Then the real fighting can begin.