Proposed Bill to Limit Nixon's Power to Withhold Budget

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House has given initial approval to a proposed Constitutional Amendment which would give lawmakers a say in the Governor's budget cutting decisions.

Last year, Governor Nixon chose to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars already allocated by the General Assembly, claiming at the time that the override of his veto would result in reduced state revenues.

The new proposed bill would prohibit Gov. Nixon from withholding funds without first notifying the General Assembly.

Right now, the Missouri Constitution gives the governor power to cut spending, but some lawmakers believe Nixon has pushed the limits of that power by restricting spending.

The new proposal would let lawmakers have a say in the spending cuts and override those cuts by a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate.

The state budget director thinks this bill would bring many risks.

"We would risk our AAA rating," said State Budget Director Linda Luebbring. "We would risk more bills going out the door than we have available so it takes away the long established responsibility for the governor to make sure the budget stays in balance."

The measure needs a second house vote to go to the Senate. It will appear on the ballot later this year.