Focusing on the Budget
We’ve reached the point in the session when the Legislature is occupied with the 2023 Fiscal Year budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee took up the House budget bills this week and we reviewed each individual item line by line. As we went through each department’s budget, I looked for savings in the lines detailing state government personnel. Throughout my time in the Senate, I have kept my accountant’s eyes peeled for vacant payroll positions. I look for any jobs that have remained unfilled for lengthy periods of time, and propose eliminating those positions from the budget when I find them. After doing this for several years, there are fewer of these wasteful holes in the budget, but I still managed to identify 36 positions that have remained vacant since 2017.
Flush with money from federal pandemic-relief programs and the bloated infrastructure and economic recovery bills passed by Congress, Missouri’s 2023 budget will likely be the largest in state history, by a wide margin. In the coming weeks, we’ll work on reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions and deliver the final budget to the governor’s desk prior to 6 p.m. on May 6. I’ll provide more information about the budget in the weeks ahead, but for now let me assure you that I remain dedicated to ensuring responsible use of Missouri taxpayer dollars, despite the federal windfall.
In other legislative activity this week, my Senate Bill 807 received a hearing in the House Special Committee on Government Oversight. This legislation, which includes a number of provisions relating to corporations, is one step closer to passage. Also, this week, several constituents of the 21st District received confirmation or reappointment to state commissions. The Senate confirmed the appointment of Dennis Knipmeyer of Higginsville to serve on Missouri’s Safe Drinking Water Commission. Dennis is manager of the Consolidated Public Water Supply District #2 of Lafayette, Johnson and Saline counties. Also, Neal Bredehoeft, a Century-farm soybean and corn producer from Alma, was reappointed to the Clean Water Commission. Congratulations to both of these community leaders.
After this week, just three weeks remain in the 2022 regular legislative session. The session concludes on May 13, and we have a lot of work left to do in the remaining days. I’ll be sure to keep you posted as events unfold.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4302. You may also email me at email@example.com.