- New custody law for equal time for dads begins today; some question law's relevance (8/28/16)5
- Marble Hill fires entire sewer department (8/23/16)5
- Ex-Southeast student gets probation for placing homemade sex video on porn site without woman's knowledge (8/24/16)13
- Bootheel lawmaker seeks probe into crop damage by illegal herbicide spraying (8/24/16)1
- Local private school dreams bigger, plans for new building at Sprigg and Lexington (8/22/16)
- Newsmakers 2016: Jason Bandermann (8/15/16)
- 'Santa' suspect Moffat sentenced to 12 years for sexual abuse of girl (8/23/16)2
- Schnucks bans solicitors, including organizations like Salvation Army (8/24/16)38
- Jackson girl stays planted on the farm (8/28/16)2
- Court ruling, state suggest businesses may apply use, sales tax to deliveries (8/24/16)2
Schools will open in spite of withholdings
Withholding state funding is a common practice in Missouri, and it has been for years. After the legislature passes budget bills and after those bills are signed by the governor, a portion of the appropriated funds are held back and can't be spent. This is a safeguard against unanticipated dips in revenue.
Typically, governors in recent history have automatically withheld 3 percent of all appropriations. If, later in the fiscal year, there is ample money to fund all of the state budget, the withheld money is released and can then be spent. But if the state is short on revenue, the money never reaches the agencies and programs it was intended for.
When the economy is good, there is generally enough state revenue to fully fund the budget by the end of the fiscal year. But the economy hasn't been good the last three years. In addition to the normal 3 percent withholding this year, Gov. Bob Holden has withheld another $250 million, because he thinks state revenue won't be as high as legislative estimates.
Particularly hard hit by these withholdings this year are public schools and higher education. But, because withholdings are normal even in good years, most school districts and state colleges and universities routinely plan for the possibility they won't get as much funding as budgeted. In addition, school districts and state colleges and universities also routinely maintain reserves. This will be a tight budget year, but planned withholdings and reserves will keep schools open.