Missouri State Senator Dan Hegeman represents parts of northern Clay County. For more information on our Opinion Section and why we publish these updates from legislators please click HERE.
This past week began with the inauguration of Governor Eric Greitens, Missouri’s 56th Governor. Thousands of Missourians joined in the celebration, including several from northwest Missouri who joined in the swearing-in and the inaugural ball later that night. In addition to the swearing-in of our new Governor, the swearing-in of a new Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, and Lieutenant Governor in Missouri marked one of the greatest hallmarks of American government, the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.
By Tuesday morning the “pomp and circumstance” had been dispensed with and the new administration and the general assembly got down to work. Committee work has gotten into full swing as several bills received their public hearings. It will not be long before bills will make their way to the floor of the respective chambers for further discussion. Additionally, the Senate will soon begin the process of reviewing and holding confirmation hearings for the governor’s executive department appointments.
But as the week began with a celebration, the end of the week brought to light the reality of the challenge ahead this session. Just before legislators returned home for the weekend the Governor, Senate Appropriations Chair, and the House Budget Chair announced the Consensus Revenue Estimate for FY 18, projecting growth of just 3.8%. This estimate is used to help guide the legislature as we begin crafting a budget. It was also noted in the House Budget Committee that in the current operating assumption for crafting the FY 18 budget, there is a need to cut nearly $500million from that budget.
This news confirmed what many of us have expected, as Missouri’s economy and revenue growth has been slow to recover, that there are certainly some difficult decisions ahead. The most important task each year for the general assembly is to produce a responsible budget that is balanced and completed on time. As a new member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I appreciate the work ahead and I look forward to the challenge and bringing a seasoned northwest Missouri perspective to the most important process in state government.
As always, please feel free to call, email, or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is [email protected] and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.