“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of Feb. 28: Finishing What We Started

Over the past several weeks, a lot has been said about the supplemental budget for Missouri’s current fiscal year. The fiscal year for state government runs from July 1 through the following June 30. Each year, hundreds of dedicated people take time to go through thousands of lines in a budget to ensure our state spends within its means. Crafting a balanced budget each year also means having to predict what could happen around the halfway point of the fiscal year. To this end, we also craft a supplemental budget. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s supplemental budget is different.

Of the $4.6 billion in this year’s supplemental appropriation, $4.1 billion comes from the federal government. Most of these funds have specific spending requirements attached to them when the state receives them. Our goal in the Missouri Senate Appropriations and Missouri House of Representative Budget committees is to ensure these funds are used in a way the best aids our state. The governor has also weighed in, and we have reached the consensus those people who work at our veterans homes, prisons, hospitals and other essential services are severely underpaid. To this end, the supplemental budget contains pay increases for these folks and our teachers.

It is unusual to see a supplemental budget with this much spending, but these are different times. Again, this is spending only slated to happen once. Without it, we would have to come up with these dollars on our own, which would mean less money for education, roads and other essential services our most vulnerable populations rely on each day in the Show-Me State. While I am not a big fan of spending, as chair of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee, I am making every effort to see to it your tax dollars are used in the best way possible and benefit the most Missourians as possible.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.