Surpluses + Legislature = A Bad Mix
According to Gov. Blunt’s budget office, the state of Missouri now has an extra $320 million in the state treasury, the Jefferson City News-Tribune stated today. This can be attributed to extra tax revenue that was added to the $200 million already saved from the last fiscal year. Some members of the Legislature are already planning to spend it:
Some of that extra money also
could be spent on Missouri’s revamped Medicaid program, which has been
renamed MO HealthNet. The bill Blunt signed into law authorizes dental
and optical coverage for adult Medicaid recipients and creates a new
women’s health initiative, but the budget lawmakers passed included no
money for those services.
Before our legislators spend the surplus that a strong economy gave them, they should consider a couple of other options. One: Put it into a rainy day fund, where the money will be available for any emergency. Two: Give it to the taxpayers, who would use the money in a more responsible way than the Legislature would. Sure, it’s fun to spend money you know, like buying season three of "Arrested Development" or a new car but when it’s not your money to begin with, and taxpayers expect you to spend it wisely, then it’s wise to show some restraint.