Amid revenue dispute with governor, Rick Stream proposes ‘Surplus Revenue Fund’

Photo: House Communications

Photo: House Communications

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri General Assembly and the governor remain split over projections predicting how much revenue the state will receive in the upcoming budget year. But House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream has proposed a new spending plan that attempts to move forward anyway, using a new two-tier system.

Stream, a St. Louis Republican, revealed a proposed spending plan Wednesday afternoon that would offer two different kinds of appropriations for some state spending items. The proposal would allow some spending increases from the state’s General Revenue fund using the legislature’s consensus revenue figure and establish another fund that would only be accessible if Gov. Jay Nixon’s revenue figures were to be correct.

“We know actual revenues will be well short of what the governor has predicted, but our budget plan makes it clear that any dollars above those we have projected will be dedicated to education and one-time project,” Stream said in a statement.

Stream said the two-tier appropriation idea is in response to a divide on the consensus revenue figure for the first time in a decade. The general revenue portion of the funding would be guaranteed, while the surplus revenue portion would be contingent on expanded state revenue numbers.

For K-12 education, the plan would mean a $122 million funding increase for fiscal year 2015, with the possibility of schools receiving another $158 million at the end of the 2015 school year if revenue comes in like Nixon’s budgeters have predicted.

Stream’s bill calls for a 2 percent across-the-board increase in core funding for all state colleges – including community colleges and four-year universities. That differs from Nixon’s call, which included a 5 percent increase for four-year universities and a 3 percent increase for community colleges.

The plan also calls for a one-time spending item that would appropriate $25 million to the University of Missouri System for capital improvement projects, including buildings at campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Rolla, and Kansas City. Those state funds will be coupled with an equal amount of private contributions, Stream said.

Stream said his committee will begin hearing the budget bills on bills on Thursday, and begin markup next week.

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