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Feb 7 – Weekly Capitol Update

| February 7, 2013

GOVERNOR RELEASES $8.4 MILLION FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

Citing robust state revenue collections, Gov. Jay Nixon on Feb. 4 released more that $8.4 million in spending authority for Missouri’s public colleges and universities for the current fiscal year. Last summer Nixon exercised his constitutional authority to restrict about $15 million in spending authority, including about 1 percent of the money appropriated for higher education institutions, from the nearly $24.28 billion state operating budget approved by the General Assembly for the 2013 fiscal year due to concerns at the time that revenue collections might prove insufficient to cover overall spending.

In addition to the higher education funding, Nixon also released another $580,000 in total spending authority for the State Historical Society, foster care programs and child care subsidies. Nearly $6 million in spending authority remains on hold, including some funding for local public schools and social services. The administration will make a decision in the coming weeks on whether that spending authority can be released.

HOUSE APPROVES REINSTATING CHARITABLE TAX BREAKS

The House of Representatives on Feb.7 voted 149-2 to reinstate several state programs that grant state income tax credits to people who donate to certain charitable causes. The five tax credit programs in the bill, HB 87, had either expired or will expire later this year. The bill, which now goes to the Senate, would extend the programs until 2019.

Reinstating the charitable tax credits is a priority for both the House and Senate this year after similar legislation failed in 2012 amid debate over reforming tax breaks for businesses, which cost the state treasury in excess of $600 million a year in lost revenue. The charitable tax credit programs in HB 87 include those for surviving spouses of public safety officers killed in the line of duty, child crisis programs, disability access, pregnancy resources centers and food pantries.

OPPONENTS OF ANTI-WORKER BILL PACK HOUSE HEARING

A House Workforce Development Committee hearing on legislation that would make it a crime for a business to negotiate a closed-shop agreement with the labor union that represents its workers attracted a standing-room-only crowd, with opponents of the legislation far outnumbering supporters. The measure, HB 77, is one of several bills being advanced by majority Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly that seek to weaken labor unions.

Under existing law, businesses are free – but not required – to negotiate collective bargaining agreements that require employees to pay dues to the labor union that represents them, regardless of whether an employee chooses to join the union. HB 77 would make such an agreement a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine. The committee could vote on the bill at a later date.

FY 2013 NET STATE REVENUE COLLECTIONS UP 9.5 PERCENT

Net state general revenue collections were up 9.5 percent during the first seven months of the 2013 fiscal year compared to the same period in FY 2012, going from $4.15 billion last year to $4.54 billion this year. Net collections increased by 18.4 percent during January 2013 compared to January 2012, going from $658.5 million to $779.5 million.

Category: Weekly Capitol Update

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