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Nixon withholds $46.1 million from Missouri budget

Gov. Jay Nixon
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A recent court ruling that excuses tobacco companies from making a $50 million payment to Missouri has resulted in the first cuts to the current year's state budget.

Gov. Jay Nixon is withholding approximately $46.1 million from the budget that took effect July 1.

"Both my administration and members of the General Assembly counted on these funds being available when the Fiscal Year 2016 budget was passed," Nixon said in a written statement. "Now that this ruling has been overturned, this unexpected loss of funds must be accounted for through spending restrictions to keep the budget in balance and our AAA credit rating intact."

The cuts are spread out over several state agencies, with the Department of Social Services taking the biggest hit at $18.2 million. Funding being withheld from Social Services includes:

  • Medicaid physicians: $2.5 million
  • Community Health Access Program (CHAPS): $1.25 million (zeroed out)
  • Rural dental health clinics: $500,000 (zeroed out)
  • Asthma services: $400,000 (zeroed out)
  • Foster Kids health home: $250,000 (zeroed out)

Funding is also being withheld from several provider rate increases, including dental care that's part of the managed care expansion passed by lawmakers this year and to physicians, nursing facilities, home health care and several other programs and services.
The Nixon administrations says, though, that expected revenues from the state's tax amnesty fund "will result in a net 1 percent increase this year."

The department of Mental Health is taking the second-largest hit, at $12.6 million.

Health and Senior Services is being cut by $4.4 million, with funding for the brain injury waiver program, which provides services for survivors of brain injury who qualify for Medicaid, being cut entirely.

Other programs being zeroed out include Bright Futures, which links community resources to young people in need; Missouri law enforcement data exchange; a feasibility study for Interstate-70, and bonding for the St. Louis business incubator.

Missouri is appealing the tobacco payment ruling, but even if it’s overturned the money won’t likely be available until next fiscal year.

The full list of temporary spending cuts can be found here.

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.