The Missouri Legislature is back in session, and it's an election year. This is a combination that means we will be hearing a great deal about ways to spend our tax dollars. Already Gov. Matt Blunt and various legislators have suggested funding increases for anti-smoking campaigns, saving dairy farmers, highways, public schools and colleges, expanded MO Health Net coverage, the Department of Corrections and higher Medicaid reimbursement to doctors -- just in the last week or so.
Missouri has managed to operate with a surplus since Gov. Matt Blunt took office, and some of the proposed increased spending would dip into those reserves. But the economic future is uncertain. Let's hope everyone in government is looking at the budget process with the understanding that those reserves might be needed to maintain existing programs.
The legislature has until May to make a final determination on the budget. By then we should have a clearer picture of where the economy is heading.