Thursday, August 4, 2011

Revenues, Withholds and the State Constitution

Individual Income Tax Receipts Rise

July state tax revenues barely budged – up .6% over a year ago – but within the numbers observers were cheered by strong individual income tax receipts.  That component, which ultimately drives overall trends – was up over 9%.  Read the Beacon’s article Here.

 

Nixon Releases Some Withholds

It led the Nixon administration to release $1.2 million of the $170 million withheld from this fiscal year.  July was the first month of the fiscal year.

 

But Why Are We Withholding Again?

According to the constitution the governor can withhold money appropriated by the legislature when revenues fall short of the consensus revenue estimate.  It’s hard to argue that revenues have fallen below estimates when they’re no track record.

 

The Nixon Money Games

Last year Governor Jay Nixon withheld about $240 million more than the revenue shortfall.  With less than 2% growth needed this fiscal year to hit the consensus revenue number, the early withholdings appear to be following this pattern of behavior.

 

Critics assert that Nixon over-withholds so that he can garner good press when he doles out the funds.  Additionally, Nixon is avoiding the legislative check of a line item override.  He’s becoming the appropriator-in-chief.

 

Exclusive: Leaders Send Letter to Koster

That explains the letter the Republican legislative leaders sent last week to Attorney General Chris Koster asking for an opinion on the constitutionality of Nixon’s actions.  The letter was signed by President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer and Speaker Steve Tilley and Budget Chair Ryan Silvey.

 

One observer expects the politic Koster to give some squirrely opinion which does nothing to pin Nixon in on the issue.  So why send the letter?  Maybe it’s Mayer’s potential AG candidacy angling to put Koster on the side of Nixon against the educators, universities and school districts that are feeling the pinch of the withhold program…

 

 

Inside the GOP Senate Caucus

Yesterday the Republican senators caucused in Jefferson City.  The primary order of business was to go through the economic development bill.  See the Draft Here.

 

The best guess is that the train continues to move.  There’s a fair amount of momentum.  But there is grumbling... 

 

Sen. Jason Crowell, in the discussion by phone, has offered some pointed criticisms: the “carve out” for Ballpark Village via MODESA; the new appointment process for MHDC; and transfer of tax credits for seniors who rent to developers.

 

Still there’s no indication of a wider mutiny against the bill, and the most likely course of action seems that Crowell will be allowed to offer his amendments and the will of the body will prevail.

 

On the House side, of course, leadership has tighter control over its herd.

 

And

Sens. Rob Mayer and Tom Dempsey released a statement calling on Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment.  See it Here. If it sounds like a Lembke-Nieves populist type statement, maybe it’s one more move by Mayer to position himself for a statewide race?

 

 

Bits

Rasmussen says 62% of likely voters would like to replace entire Congress.  See it Here.

 

 

Sen. Jane Cunningham’s student protection act goes viral… See the articles Here… Nce to know the people of Pakistan are up to date on the happenings of the Missouri legislature from time to time…

 

 

House Dems caucus this weekend.

 

 

Birthdays

Today’s birthdays are Burton-Liese’s Don Soph, and lobbyist Dick Wiles.

 

St. Louis City Republican stalwart Michael Chance hit the big 5-0 tomorrow. 

 

And St. Louis American publisher Don Suggs celebrates on Sunday.