More money for Missouri, fewer possible budget problems for lawmakers

Despite recent discussions about Missouri’s shaky income numbers, the state’s revenue collections have picked up significantly in recent months, which could help ease legislators’ concerns as they finish fashioning a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

As of March 31, general revenue collections for the current fiscal year are up 4.3 percent compared to a year ago. The latest official estimate for this fiscal year had called for only 3 percent growth.

General revenue income pays for most of the state’s operations, including public safety, public schools and universities, but it’s only about one-third of the state’s overall budget. The rest comes from federal money designated for specific programs.

March’s income collections were down 0.2 percent compared to March 2016. But the numbers since January, when Gov. Eric Greitens took office, are a bit rosier. That’s important because Greitens and his predecessor, Democrat Jay Nixon, made budget cuts or “withholds” because of last fall’s income drop — and those can be restored if state income improves.

Both governors acted because the state constitution requires a balanced budget when the fiscal year ends on June 30.

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio

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