Missourians at the polls today could have a say in how future budget battles in Jefferson City play out. Amendment 10, which appears on ballots across the state, would change the Missouri Constitution so that when a governor decides to withhold money for state programs and services the legislature can overturn that decision.
Proponents of the amendment say Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has used the power to withhold portions of the budget as a political tool. They say right now there’s nothing lawmakers can do to fight that, and that the amendment would improve the balance of power between the state’s executive and legislative branches.
Opponents of the measure say it’s a threat to the state’s ability to maintain a balanced budget. One state official said that, if legislators think the governor is abusing his power, proper recourse would be to take Nixon to court, not to alter the state’s constitution.