Missouri House disaster committee recommends using "rainy day fund"

Sunday, July 31, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A Missouri House committee recommends using the state's "rainy day fund" in addition to other sources of revenue as part of the state's response to clean up and recovery from this spring's storms.

The House Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery on Friday turned in its report to Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, after a series of hearings throughout regions of the state affected by tornadoes and floods. The committee supports adding disaster response to the governor's call for a special session of the legislature and using the rainy day fund of budget reserves to help pay the state's share of the disaster cleanup and recovery.

The report also supports the formation of a legislative oversight committee to keep an eye on disaster expenses, and it supports an open call by the governor on disaster response, instead of a call that would limit discussion to the use of the budget reserve fund.

"There are multiple solutions to our recovery process that we should be looking at and we should not be too narrow in how we address helping these communities get back on their feet," said committee chairman Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Willard.

Earlier last week, state budget director Linda Luebbering told the committee that the state is still waiting for estimates of the costs of cleanup and recovery from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Use of the rainy day fund could free up about $250 million for cleanup and recovery. In addition, Gov. Jay Nixon has held back about $150 million from the FY 2012 state budget that is earmarked for disaster recovery. It's expected Nixon will call a special session of the legislature to meet in September, around the time of the annual legislative veto session, which is scheduled for the second week in September.

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