House OKs budget bills

Friday, March 8, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The House moved forward on three pieces of legislation Thursday that could help balance the state's budget.

"I feel like we finally got something accomplished toward our priorities, which is balancing the budget, dealing with this budget crisis and fully funding" the state's education formula, said House Speaker Jim Kreider, D-Nixa.

One measure, sponsored by Rep. Tim Green, D-St. Louis, would help cover holes in the current budget by letting legislators transfer about $30 million in unobligated treasury funds into general revenue. The 112-25 House vote approving the so-called "sweep" bill sent the bill to the Senate.

Representatives also gave initial approval to a proposal by Rep. Phil Smith, D-Louisiana, that would allow the state to use unclaimed, over-collected sales tax money for education. Gov. Bob Holden has said that measure could net $10 million.

The governor and many lawmakers have pledged to fully fund the formula used to pay for elementary and secondary education.

To do so in the fiscal year that starts July 1 requires finding $220 million, Holden has said. Last week, the House passed a bill that would change how the formula is calculated, lowering that figure to $175 million.

Also Thursday, the House gave final approval to legislation making it easier for the state to collect income tax from out-of-state athletes and entertainers who visit Missouri to work.

While state law already requires such people to pay taxes, it is hard to enforce, said sponsoring Rep. Derio Gambaro, D-St. Louis.

The legislation would treat sports and entertainment venues like any other company with employees and require them to withhold tax on payments to visiting athletes and entertainers, Gambaro said.

Gambaro believes the state is losing out on at least $1 million annually.

The entertainer tax bill now moves to the Senate, while the sales tax measure awaits final House approval.

Over-collected tax bill is HB1202 (Smith), athletes and entertainers bill is HB1672 (Gambaro) and the funds sweep bill is HB1906 (Green).

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: