Sep 7, 2017 – Weekly Capitol Update

LITTLE ACTION EXPECTED IN UPCOMING VETO SESSION

The Missouri General Assembly will convene Sept. 13 for its annual veto session, but for the first time in six years lawmakers aren’t expected to override any vetoes. Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed only five bills during his first year in office, none of which his fellow Republicans, who hold veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers, appear intent on challenging him over.

Greitens highest-profile veto involved legislation that sought to redirect $34 million that is sitting unused in special state accounts to preserve in-home care and nursing home services. An estimated 8,000 disabled and elderly Missourians lost their access to those services as a result of veto. While House Democrats are expected to seek an override on the measure, HCB 3, such as effort is unlikely to be successful given that it originally passed with just 83 votes in favor and 109 are needed for override.

Another vetoed measure – HCR 19 – sought to authorize the state to sell $48 million in bonds to help finance construction of a facility for the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. While HCR 19 received bipartisan, veto-proof support in the spring, after the veto university leaders said they will seek to raise the money privately, and there has been little legislative talk of override since.

The three remaining bills on the veto session agenda are HB 850, relating to Missouri National Guard complaint procedures; SB 65, pertaining to safety rails on passenger boats and SB 128, an omnibus judiciary bill.

In addition, lawmakers could reconsider three line-item vetoes Greitens made to budget bills. However, one of those vetoes was a $1 appropriations placeholder for the UMKC project, and the other two block attempts to move items that traditionally have been handled off-budget under the normal appropriations process. As a result, the vetoes had no actual impact on state spending.

If the upcoming veto session does end up being a low-key affair, it will stand in sharp contrast to recent veto sessions that saw the Republican-controlled legislature override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon dozen of times. The last veto session that passed without a single override was in 2011, although the legislature overrode Nixon on a congressional redistricting bill earlier that year during the regular session. The last year without any overrides at all was in 2010.

 

GOVERNOR APPOINTS TAX CREDIT CRITIC TO MDHC

Gov. Eric Greitens on Sept. 6 appointed a staunch critic of tax credits to the Missouri Housing Development Commission, the panel with authority over the issuance of tax credits for low-income housing developments. Missouri’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program is one of the state’s most expensive tax credit programs, but critics have long questioned whether its cost is a good deal for taxpayers.

The governor’s MHDC appointee, former state Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, unsuccessfully pushed for tax credit reform but successfully slowed the expansion of tax credit programs for several years before leaving the legislature in 2013 due to term limits.

According to a 2014 state audit, the LIHTC program provides only 42 cents worth of housing for every $1 in credits awarded. As a result, critics contend the program does more to enrich developers than to create affordable housing.

 

NET FY 2018 STATE REVENUE COLLECTIONS UP 6.45 PERCENT

Net state general revenue collections through the first two months of the 2018 fiscal year increased 6.45 percent compared to the same period in FY 2017, going from $1.28 billion last year to $1.37 billion this year. Net collections for August 2017 increased 7 percent compared to August 2016 going from $740.55 million last year to $792.31 million this year.

State Budget Director Dan Haug said the state borrowed $50 million from the Budget Reserve Fund for cash-flow purposes in August. Pursuant to the state constitution, the money must be repaid no later than May 15, 2018.