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Nixon releases $43 million, issues first veto of 2015 session

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

It was a busy Good Friday for Gov. Jay Nixon. First, he announced that he's released $43 million that’s been withheld from the current state budget, citing an improvement in revenue collection. Then he announced his first vetoes of the session.

The newly released money covers numerous programs, including $7 million for the Missouri Technology Corp. to aid start-up companies, $5 million for repairs and maintenance to state buildings, and $1.5 million to the state’s preschool program.
Nixon says he’s not comfortable yet reversing any more cuts he made last year.

"We don’t want to get into a situation where we get overly exuberant and then have to come back and do additional restrictions," Nixon said.  "It would take some continued significant growth for us to release additional dollars, but, you know, the economy seems to be getting going.”

"The economy is picking up steam," Nixon said, "so we’re always hopeful that we'll continue to see positive economic activity in the continuing months."

Nixon withheld $846 million dollars from the state budget when he signed it into law last summer. He said it was necessary in part because Republican lawmakers had passed several tax breaks that would have thrown the budget out of balance and because they refused to expand Medicaid.

House and Senate leaders have not yet responded to requests for comment.

The released funds also include the following:

  • MSU Occupational Therapy Program - $705,000
  • UM/Springfield Medical Partnership - $5,320,000
  • Lincoln University land grant match - $250,000
  • Port Authority capital investments - $3 million
  • ITSD security upgrades - $3.5 million
  • Missouri works training - $2.5 million
  • Missouri Department of Tourism tourism development  -- $500,000
  • Highway patrol drug and crime control vehicles -- $300,000
  • Local firefighter training - $200,000
  • Department of Corrections institutional costs - $670,135
  • Autism Diagnostic Centers, regional autism projects and Department of Mental Health community program - $1.36 million
  • Federally qualified health centers grants - $2.18 million
  • State aid to local libraries - $2.78 million
  • Remote access for local libraries (internet access) - $3.1 million
  • Public Defender Caseload Relief - $500,000
  • UM S&T - Experimental Mines Bldg - $1,200,000
  • North Central Community College Geyer Hall renovations - $1.4 million
  • Capitol complex renovations  - $250,000

Nixon vetoes first bill of 2015

Nixon also announced Friday that he was vetoing House Bill 63, which would have barred former school superintendents from running for school board seats in the districts they used to work for.

"The law should encourage – not prohibit – those who aspire to serve in public office," Nixon said in his veto message. "In our democratic system, otherwise qualified candidates should not be disqualified simply because of their expertise."

Nixon says the bill would have blocked four school board candidates who are on ballots in different local elections next week.

Supporters had argued that House Bill 63 contains a needed fix for local elections because another bill passed last year did away with language affecting party nominations in some races.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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