Missouri Gubernatorial Budgetary Recommendations, Amendment 10 (2014)

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Amendment 10
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Missouri Constitution
Referred by:Missouri Legislature
Topic:State and local government budgets, spending and finance on the ballot
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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August 5
Amendment 1 Approveda
Amendment 5 Approveda
Amendment 7 Defeatedd
Amendment 8 Defeatedd
Amendment 9 Approveda
November 4
Amendment 2 Approveda
Amendment 3 Defeatedd
Amendment 6 Defeatedd
Amendment 10 Approveda
EndorsementsFull text
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Expenditures
Local measures

The Missouri Gubernatorial Budgetary Recommendations, Amendment 10 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Missouri as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure was designed to prohibit the governor from estimating available state revenues when making budget recommendations to the legislature in situations where estimated available state revenues are determined from proposed, but not yet approved, legislation. The measure was designed to allow the governor to estimate unspent revenues that would constitute a surplus from the immediately preceding fiscal year or years in his or her budget recommendation. Also, the amendment was designed to prohibit the governor from reducing appropriations for the payment of public debt.[1]

The measure was sponsored in the Missouri Legislature by Rep. Todd Richardson (R-152) as House Joint Resolution 72.[2]

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

Missouri Amendment 10
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 791,099 56.80%
No601,69943.20%

Election results via: Missouri Secretary of State

Text of the measure

Ballot title

The official ballot text read as follows:[3]

Official Ballot Title:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?
State governmental entities expect no direct costs or savings. Local governmental entities expect an unknown fiscal impact.

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature. This amendment prohibits the governor from reducing funding passed by the general assembly without receiving legislative consent, and provides certain other restrictions on the governor’s ability to increase or decrease line items in the budget. This amendment further prohibits the governor from proposing a budget that relies on revenue from legislation that has not yet passed in the general assembly.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.[4]

Constitutional changes

See also: Missouri Gubernatorial Budgetary Recommendations Amendment, HJR 72 (2014), constitutional text changes

HJR 72 amended Section 24 and Section 27 of Article IV of the Missouri Constitution.

Background

HJR 72 was born out of ongoing tension between the executive and legislative branches regarding the state budget. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) had relied on his constitutional powers to reduce funding for budgeted programs. Occasionally, this had been done even when "revenues [were] meeting projections," according to the Associated Press.[5] Gov. Nixon and his office defended such moves as being necessary to maintain a balanced budget and within his constitutional purview.[6] However, members of the legislature argued such moves were an infringement on the separation of powers and system of checks and balances.[7] Prior to Gov. Nixon's election, Missouri had been a Republican Party state government trifecta. Following his election, the government had remained divided due to the continuing Republican majority in both the House and the Senate.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, all governors except the Governor of Maryland have the power to veto an entire appropriations bill. Missouri's governor can veto funding for a particular line item, funding for an entire program or agency and language accompanying appropriation itself. However, "[words] that set out the purpose of an appropriation may be stricken only when the appropriation is vetoed." The governor can also reduce amounts in a budget.[8]

Support

Supporters

  • The Missouri Club for Growth (MOCFG)[9]

Officials

Rep. Todd Richardson was the primary sponsor of HJR 72.

HJR 72 "Yes" votes

The following members of the Missouri State Legislature voted in favor of placing this measure on the ballot.[10][11]

Note: A yes vote on HJR 72 merely referred the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators approved of the stipulations laid out in Amendment 10.

Senate

House

Arguments

Rep. Richardson claimed that there was no definition for what was being referred to by the word "estimates" in Section 27 of Article IV of the Missouri Constitution. He said, "Unfortunately there’s been no real interpretation of that provision because despite efforts to do so, it’s been very difficult to get the merits of those cases heard before Missouri courts." He provided the following arguments in favor of the amendment:

Do Missourians feel like the governor should have unchecked power to decide how the taxpayers’ money gets spent, or do they believe that as with all areas of government there ought to be checks and balances?[7][4]

Rep. Todd Richardson

We have never seen a governor withhold funding at the level Gov. Nixon has year after year. It is a clear abuse of his constitutional authority that is meant to be limited to times when our state is in a funding crisis. As our governor continues to propose more and more spending while withholding funds already appropriated by the legislature it is clear that we have to restore the balance that is meant to exist between the branches of government.[12][4]

Rep. Todd Richardson

This would put a very simple yet effective process in place that protects the interests of Missouri taxpayers by requiring the governor to pay the public debt and by providing legislative oversight of the governor’s decisions to restrict funding. In effect, it would allow us to consider his withholding while we are in session and override it with a two-thirds vote.[4]

Rep. Todd Richardson

Opposition

Rep. Mike Colona (D-80) expressed concerns about unintended consequences the measure might have during a House General Laws Committee meeting. He questioned the matter, saying,

We’ve had a budgetary process that has worked for decades. If we throw a monkey wrench in there, who knows about the unintended consequences? I’m not about to take that risk.[13][4]

Rep. Mike Colona

HJR 72 "No" votes

The following members of the Missouri State Legislature voted against placing this measure on the ballot.[10][11]

Note: A no vote on HJR 72 meant that a legislator did not want to refer the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators disapproved of the stipulations laid out in Amendment 10.

Senate

House

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Missouri ballot measures, 2014

Opposition

  • The Kansas City Star said,
Constitutional Amendment 10 is the result of a long-standing dispute between lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon over the state budget. It would make it harder for Nixon — and future governors —to withhold funding and alter the budget once the legislature has voted on it.

But making a governor’s ability to hold back spending contingent on legislative approval carries its own risks. Future legislatures could prevent a governor from dealing with a genuine revenue shortfall. Voters should say NO.[4]

Kansas City Star[14]

  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said,
Here’s what Standard and Poor’s, the credit rating agency, says about Amendment 10:

“We believe this amendment could reduce the flexibility to make changes to balance the budget and make the process more difficult. We believe this amendment could potentially weaken the state’s strong governmental framework to make midyear budget adjustments, which in our view, could potentially lower the rating to a level in line with our indicative rating under our state scoring methodology.”

Translation? Kiss Missouri’s AAA credit rating goodbye.

Vote no on Amendment 10. It’s not conservative. It is short-sighted. It’s bad for business. It’s bad for Missouri.[4]

St. Louis Post-Dispatch[15]

Path to the ballot

Missouri Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIII
See also Amending the Missouri Constitution

Proposed constitutional amendments must be agreed to by a majority of the members of each chamber of the Missouri General Assembly. HJR 72 was passed by the Missouri House on February 20, 2014. The amendment was passed by the Missouri Senate on May 16, 2014.[16]

House vote

February 20, 2014 House vote

Missouri HJR 72 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 109 72.19%
No4227.81%

Senate vote

May 16, 2014 Senate vote

Missouri HJR 72 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 25 86.21%
No413.79%

See also

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Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. Missouri House of Representatives, "HJR 72 Bill Summary," accessed May 27, 2014
  2. Missouri House of Representatives, "HJR 72 Summary," accessed May 27, 2014
  3. Missouri Secretary of State, "2014 Ballot Measures," accessed July 1, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. Associated Press, "Missouri lawmakers seek more power in budget cuts," May 16, 2014
  6. Office of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, "Gov. Nixon restricts $400 million from Fiscal Year 2014 budget, citing costs of House Bill 253," June 28, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Missourinet, "Legislature could ask voters to define governor’s budget restriction powers," January 16, 2014
  8. National Conference of State Legislatures, "GUBERNATORIAL VETO AUTHORITY WITH RESPECT TO MAJOR BUDGET BILL(S)," December 2008
  9. The Club for Growth, Missouri, "MOCFG Announces Yes on 10 Campaign," October 6, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 Missouri Senate, "Journal of the Senate SECOND REGULAR SESSION SEVENTIETH DAY—FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2014," accessed November 1, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 [http://house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills141/jrnpdf/jrn025.pdf Missouri House of Representatives, "JOURNAL OF THE HOUSE Second Regular Session, 97th GENERAL ASSEMBLY TWENTY-FIFTH DAY, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2014," accessed November 1, 2014]
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Missouri Times, "Press Release: State Rep. Todd Richardson Files Constitutional Amendment to Provide Legislative Oversight of Governor’s Decisions to Withhold State Funding," January 31, 2014
  13. Ozarks First.com, "Bipartisan Committee Approves Changes to Governor's Budget Power," February 5, 2014
  14. Kansas City Star, "More harmful initiatives than good ones on Missouri's Nov. 4 ballot," October 3, 2014
  15. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Editorial: Voters should protect checks and balances: Vote no on Amendment 10," October 16, 2014
  16. Missouri House of Representatives, "Activity History for HJR 72," accessed May 27, 2014