Last night, Governor Jeremiah Wilson Nixon re-introduced himself to the liberal wing of the national Democrat party (h/t Sen John Lamping) with a rousing, budget busting speech. Rousing that is if you are a believer that government is the solution to problems – despite the fact that government causes more problems than they solve!
Borrowing from the DC play book, he proposed spending money and expanding programs. There is no way to pay for most of his “ear tickling” proposals or the bill will be sent later after he doesn’t have to worry about it. Fortunately, the legislature will be responsible and ensure that the State of the State (SOTS) address was “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
He began his speech by touting Missouri’s job creation. He forgot to mention that he was ranked 39th out of 45 governors on private sector job creation. Every surrounding state’s governor was ranked higher than Governor Nixon – even Governor Quinn of Illinois!
The Consensus Revenue Estimate (CRE) process was developed so that the Governor, House and Senate would all be budgeting to the same revenue projections. It works well most of the time but occasionally you get a governor who wants to play with the numbers. I was the first House Budget Chairman to not agree with the proposed CRE and was proven right in refusing to do so.
This year, the House, Senate and Governor originally had tentative agreement on the CRE. That is, until the Governor started adding up the promises he was making and then wanted to add about $140m more to the estimate. The House and Senate rightfully refused to cook the books! That didn’t stop the Governor’s proposed spending spree.
The Governor used his fudged numbers to open delayed Christmas presents for all those who have their hands in the taxpayers’ pockets. The vast majority of applause in the chamber came from those who will be at the other end, the recipient of taxpayers’ hard earned money.
He made many announcements of increased funding starting with education. Any reasonable person will have to ignore the fact that Governor Nixon has withheld from the amounts appropriated for education funding since he has been governor. A governor may Constitutionally withhold from appropriations ONLY if the revenue forecasted to be received does not materialize. That happened only in one of the years Governor Nixon withheld. ALL others were political in nature.
Take for example the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. Governor Nixon withheld $150m to help in the clean-up of Joplin and other sites of natural disasters. Sounds like a good cause. At least until you find out that he only spent $36m of the $150m and then refused to return the remainder to education as originally intended! Even more perplexing is he did this when the state was receiving over $300m more that year than forecast!
Now, we are supposed to believe that he favors increasing education funding? How much will he withhold? No, it’s a clear payoff to the education establishment for supporting his veto of House Bill 253 – the first broad based income tax cut in almost 100 years.
The educrats helped spread false information about HB253. Their faux complaints about the Governor’s withholding of hundreds of millions of dollars from education for political purposes didn’t fool anybody except some weak-kneed legislators. Paybacks are good for Friends of Jay. Not so much for taxpayers!
But the SOTS wasn’t all bad. The Governor did mention taxpayers. True to form, he told Missourians they should be happy that their state government can spend their money better than they can! He should win an Oscar for Best Actor in the role of “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help”.
He went on to make several other big spending proposals and false statements such as not expanding Medicaid would mean Missouri tax dollars would be spent in other states to expand their programs. Not accurate. Read more here.
Missouri deserves a governor that will tell them the truth not just what he thinks some want to here. Missouri deserves a Governor who is a responsible steward of our money not just a pretender preparing for some national stage.
If Missouri had a Governor who kept his oath, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now!