By the time you read this, the budget will be done. As I write this article, we are still debating the budget; however, there is good news about Missouri’s economy. After the release of the April General Revenue Report from the state budget director showing 2013 fiscal year-to-date general revenue collections up 11.2 percent from last year and April collections up 27.4 percent over last April, Gov. Nixon issued the following statement:
“Today’s general revenue report shows that our focus on fiscal discipline and job creation continues to pay real dividends for our economy and our state budget,” Gov. Nixon said. “With personal income up and our unemployment rate below the national average for the 43rd straight month, Missouri’s economy is clearly moving in the right direction, as this report reflects. That is why I have instructed the state budget director to prepare a Governor’s Amendment to the fiscal year 2014 budget that will allow, if these trends continue, for strategic one-time investments in priorities I laid out in my State of the State address earlier this year. As we continue to monitor these positive trends, strategic investment in key assets, such as our state parks, is a fiscally prudent approach to moving our state forward.”
The amendment includes $13 million for the planning and design of a new Fulton State Mental Hospital, $28 million for structural repairs to the State Capitol, and $45 million for improvements at Missouri State Parks, which are a significant driver of tourism. An economic impact study released in 2012 found that state parks visitors spent $778 million in 2011, generating more than $1 billion in sales and supporting 14,535 jobs.
In his State of the State address in January, Gov. Nixon said: “Updating our cabins and lodges, and building brand-new, top-of-the-line facilities at our most popular parks will create jobs, help our economy, and make our parks an even bigger draw. Our 87 state parks and historic sites are a priceless legacy that belongs to all of us. Hunting, fishing, hiking and camping are part of our Missouri way of life. Investing in Missouri’s state parks today will help preserve our outdoor heritage for our grandchildren, and their grandchildren.”
The Governor also directed the release of $29.6 million in funds that had been restricted for the current fiscal year. This release will provide additional funding for education, local public health agencies and other services.
As always, I respect your trust and value your advice, comments and questions. Let me know how I may serve you and your family. Please call me at (573)751-9459, toll free at (855)285-3781, locally at (636)299-3270 or (636)462-7295. If you wish to fax my office, our number is (573)522-0441. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . You may also track progress of legislation at www.house.mo.gov .