The Deadline Hath Arrived
The appropriators in Jefferson City have managed to finalize a budget before the May 11 deadline. The final version of the budget amounts to a little more than $24 billion. The key differences between the Missouri House and Senate budgets that held up the conference committee from crafting a final budget seem to have been resolved.
The most recent stumbling block involved funding for the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life. The Institute’s goal is to help prepare women to run for public office. There is nothing wrong with that, but should taxpayers foot the bill? In economic times such as these, it should be a relatively easy call to cut funding for programs like this one. Apparently in Jefferson City, the call was not so easy. The Shear Institute gets to keep state funding. This fracas is indicative of the problems that plague Jefferson City.
If deciding on whether to cut funding for a non-essential program like the Shear Institute can cause the budgeting process to screech to a halt, what would happen if something much bigger was on the table, such as tax credit reform? Organizations on the left and the right have called for tax credit reform, but yet there seems to be little movement to actually enact any meaningful reform (a reform, by the way, that, if enacted, would do a lot to alleviate the current budget situation in which the state finds itself).
The budget impasse has been resolved. However, this situation is indicative of the obstacles facing any reform measure that might be proposed.