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Missouri Senate Finishes Its Version of Budget

Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2012, at 4:14 PM

Members of the Missouri General Assembly have only one constitutional obligation, and that is to pass a budget every year. Missouri senators are one step closer to doing just that.

In a rare turn of events, the 13 individual bills that make up the entire budget for Missouri's next fiscal year -- plus a supplemental bill for the remainder of the current fiscal year -- were handled in about six hours. Normally, these measures take the better part of a week to debate and pass. Your Missouri legislators are united in passing a balanced budget that meets Missouri's needs and honors taxpayers.

It is worth noting that the Senate started on the bills around 8:15 p.m. on April 24 and finished its work in the early morning hours on April 25.

Much press has been given to the $24 billion Fiscal Year 2013 operating budget. Budget experts from the Missouri Senate, House and the governor's office started on the details back in November of last year. After that, the House's varying budget committees and the Senate Appropriations Committee heard from state department heads and the general public about their preferences and concerns.

By March, there was much talk about some of the reductions the Missouri House decided to make to ensure the budget was in order. I commend the efforts of all legislators sitting on committees hearing hours of testimony and then surgically removing what extra remains in the way the state spends money.

There are still more steps to take. The budget bills will now be hashed out by a Senate-House conference committee. Those agreed-upon bills must then receive both chambers' final approval. The Fiscal Year 2013 operating budget has to be on the governor's desk by 6 p.m. on May 11, 2012.

As you well know, we have had some difficult budgets over the past four years. At first, the federal government acted like it was saving the day by handing out money to the states. Some of this money was used to plug some holes, but the federal money is gone. We have had to make some of the tough decisions that I said should have been made three years ago. Budgeting is never easy. There is no way to please everyone.

The budget for Fiscal Year 2013, which will start on July 1, 2012, and run through June 30, 2013, anticipates 3.5 percent revenue growth for the coming year. Hopefully, this will be the case, as the governor has chosen to withhold millions of dollars over the past three years -- usually in higher education and school bus money -- which tends to hurt rural Missouri.

I pray that better economic times are coming. We need more taxpayers, not more taxes. We should no longer depend on the federal government for budget assistance, because it only makes states more dependent upon an entity with a bloated debt and no fiscal responsibility. We have to be smarter with our spending, which I will continue to fight for in the Missouri Senate.

Senator Stouffer serves the counties of Carroll, Chariton, Cooper, Howard, Lafayette, Macon, Ray, Saline, and a part of Clay. If you have questions or comments about this or any other issue, please call toll free 866-768-3987 or by

e-mail at bstouffer@senate.mo.gov.

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And I see Sen. Stouffer did his part to try to balance the budget by voting to remove the pay raise for state employees from next year's budget! No pay raise for many years, and he still tries to screw them over. Luckily for the employees at MHC, HHC, and other state employees, the attempt was defeated. I suggest these folks all remember Sen. Stouffer's vote when they vote in the primary for Sec. of State.

-- Posted by cmasretire on Thu, May 3, 2012, at 10:27 PM

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Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, represented the 21st district in the Missouri Senate until January 2013, when he left after reaching established term limits. He is a life-long resident of Saline County, a farmer and small business owner. He and his wife, Sue Ellen, live on their family farm in Napton. He was the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. He served on a number of other committees, including Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources; Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy & the Environment; Financial & Governmental Organizations & Elections; Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation; Missouri Alternative Fuels Commission; Missouri Civil Air Patrol; Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission; Missouri Senior RX Commission; Alzheimer's State Plan Task Force; Coordinating Council on Special Transportation; and Midwestern Interstate passage Rail Compact Commission.