Gov. Nixon issued the following statement today regarding actions taken by the budget conference committee this week:
"As Governor, I take my responsibility to maintain fiscal discipline very seriously. Yesterday, the budget conference committee took the unprecedented step of only funding two-thirds of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget for the Division of Motor Vehicles -- indicating that this was intended to fund only a portion of the fiscal year. This division provides titles and registrations for boats, ATVs, and manufactured homes, and issues licenses to businesses that manufacture these items. The committee also cut by one-third the funding for the contract for printing and distribution of Missouri-issued drivers licenses.
This irresponsible tactic of attempting to fund government in a piecemeal fashion, to be revisited over the course of the year, is not the way we have done business in the past, and is not the way we will do business going forward. Our strong foundation of fiscal discipline is supported by a time-tested budgetary framework by which the legislature passes an annual budget that is then executed by the executive branch.
Our ability to ensure the budget remains in balance throughout the year has been repeatedly cited by the ratings agencies as central to our state's perfect AAA credit rating. This strong fiscal management also stands in stark contrast to that of Washington, DC where the undisciplined reliance on continuing resolutions by Congress has resulted in budgetary uncertainty, and contributed to a downgrade of the nation's credit rating.
That is why, when the legislature passes a budget that includes these actions by the conference committee - of only appropriating two-thirds of the budget for these services, they leave me no choice: I will reduce staff and services accordingly -- including making the necessary layoffs - effective July 1.
The unique action taken by the legislature this week would undermine our strong budgetary framework, and would introduce unnecessary and dangerous levels of uncertainty into the historical budget process practiced by governors and legislatures for decades.
Now is not the time to deviate from our time-tested budget management practices, which contribute to our ironclad AAA credit rating."