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MO GOP Hypocrisy

GOP state lawmakers want you to think they are reducing spending. Yet, spending is on the rise.

GOP state lawmakers want you to think they are reducing spending. Yet, spending is on the rise.

There are plenty of examples to choose from.

Missouri House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka, told his constituents earlier this week that he has cut state spending.

Even after being confronted about the ever-rising totals by Missouri Journal, Jones insisted that he will continue to tell voters that he cuts spending.

Jones is in line to be speaker, if the GOP retains the majority and if his colleagues vote for him when the Missouri House convenes in January.

Several years ago, the speaker disignee started the practice of making some of the committee assignments prior to officially assuming office.

This week, Jones announced that Rep. Rick Stream, a Republican from Kirkwood, would be the next chairman of the budget committee.

Stream told Kirkwood Patch that .

However, total state spending for this fiscal year, which started on July 1, is set to increase 3.4 percent to $24.1 billion compared to the amount appropriated by lawmakers for last fiscal year.

The amended budget proposal for this fiscal year by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, would have cut year-over-year spending by around 1 percent. Instead, the Missouri General Assembly, controlled by the GOP, added more than $1 billion to the plan during the budget-making process.

Following the money and not the political rhetoric shows that state spending rarely falls.

Throughout the last 30 years, total expenditures have dropped year-over-year only three times.

Spending, meanwhile, has increased 468 percent from $3.9 billion in 1981 to $22.2 billion in 2011.

By Brian R. Hookbrhook@missourijournal.com, (314) 482-7944

Hook is editor of Missouri Journal, which tracks the economy across the Show-Me State

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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brian R. Hook July 17, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Thank you for responding Tom. David: Tom is correct. Votes: http://is.gd/wyW0YB Budgets: http://is.gd/ocbney
David Cort July 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM
So then, Congressman? What's your take? True or false? Easy question.
Jason Wescoat July 17, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Now wait a minute, again, I'm speaking without knowledge, but just reading what's on this article and comment stream, but this is all a shell game. Mr. Martz description is certainly what happens all the time in government. I don't know if that's what had happened here, it certainly could have. However, we aren't even talking apples to apples. The question isn't easy, because the background of the question isn't clear. If the federal government portion of the MO state budget increases significantly, the MO House could indeed actually cut budgets across the board, and total spending could still go up. Should the state just refuse and money from the federal government moving forward? At the same time, federal money could go down, the MO House could increase spending, but the total spend still go down. Would you all think the Congressman was telling the truth then since spending would be down? Mr. Jones may have a twitter problem. I don't know, I don't follow him. However, that has nothing to do with the truth of this issue. Knowing the breakdown between the state monies and federal monies is absolutely critical. Without it, you can't fairly call Mr. Jones a liar, and frankly, he can't fairly call himself a spending hawk. Either the state portion of the budget has gone up, or it hasn't. If it has gone up, Mr. Jones should explain, if it hasn't, Mr. Hook is bending the truth for his own purposes. All of this other discussion is pure shenanigans.
Jason Wescoat July 17, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I will grant that a third option is that nobody really knows at this point. If that's the case, some research is needed. I would think this information would be pretty easy to find. If I'm missing something, please enlighten me. Also, one would think that keeping the state healthy financially and taking care of promises made would be a cornerstone for any candidate, regardless if spending was going up or down...
Brian R. Hook July 17, 2012 at 03:35 PM
The whole $24.1 billion is taxpayer money. But I'll play along. General revenue appropriated by lawmakers for this fiscal year: $8.013 billion General revenue appropriated by lawmakers for last fiscal year: $7.909 billion. Here's the breakdown: http://is.gd/ocbney These are the numbers provided by lawmakers. Even the part state lawmakers "control" is going up. - BRH
Jason Wescoat July 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Help me out here, I see the $8 bill, and I see the $7.5ish bill from the federal gov't, but what's the $7.5ish bill coming in from "other" sources? Side note, Mr. Jones, it does seem like, even playing by your rules, Mr. Hook may have a point here. Brag about the financial health of MO, regardless of spending. Brag about holding the line on spending instead of letting someone else go out of control on budget increases. If the state part is going up, and the federal part is going up, and you're saying your cutting overall spending (like the governor claims to have cut $1.6 billion, which clearly isn't accurate), that certainly raises some eyebrows. For the record, I'm a registered Republican and pretty conservative. I'm more interested in learning the facts in any argument such as this, instead of rhetoric from any side.
Brian R. Hook July 17, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Scroll up the spreadsheet. Each category shows appropriations for federal funds. This is the amount of money coming from the feds. Does this answer your question?
Tom Martz July 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Most if not all of the people on this thread are either republicans or conservatives, yes it is possible to be a conservative without having the (R) after your name, just like it is quite possible to be liberal with an (R) after the name. I believe 8 short years ago the total budget of the state was around 19B and currently the budget is almost 24B. This shows a trend of upward activity not downward which means the budget has shown a net increase during the same time period that the voting public is being told that spending is being slashed. Offsetting one decrease with a higher net increase is still expanding the budget not cutting it. YES there were spending cuts in some areas of the budget how those spending cuts did NOT offset the spending increases the end result is a net increase in the budget.
David Cort July 17, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I follow Brian and the Journal, and know for a fact he is not biased and is an equal opportunity watchdog. It is apparent to me that the budget for all 13 appropriated budgets is higher than last year. And it is apparent that the Congressman voted yes on all 13. So, it is disingenuous, in the best light, to say "I cut spending", no matter where that money came from. He could say a hundred other things as he disburses federal monies that might be genuine, but "I cut spending" is not one of them. It does happen to be what voters want to hear which leads one to beleive it might be a little worse than simply disingenuous and might be outright dishonest. Further, to say "I cut spending" in one breath and "I had no control" in the next borders on ludicrous. You cold as easily say "I did NOT cut spending because I had not control." But, a question a previous poster had about this is interestingly petinent to this discussion. "Should the state just refuse the oney from the federal government" can be as easily and truthfully answered in the positive or negative depending on ones philosophy, but once answered, the Senate and House are in COMPLETE control. There is no "I had no control" as Yoda would say, just "I did" or "I didn't"
David Cort July 17, 2012 at 07:53 PM
But, the Congressman is in good "cost cutting" company. Obama announced proudly last week that he has cut a trillion and has proposed another 1.2 trillion.
John Anderson July 18, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I'm in NY and was just wondering if you people in MO are only seeing Obama ads? Thanks!
David Cort July 18, 2012 at 12:06 AM
nah. there are plenty of Romney ads. Not quite 50/50 with obama slightly in the ad war lead.
John Anderson July 18, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Thanks, here in NY it's 100% Obama. Was just wondering what method Patch (Huffington Post) was using for ad placements.
Michael Rhodes July 18, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I have not seen any Romney ads on the Patch here is St. Louis, only Obama. Might have missed the Romney ads or David may have thought your were asking about TV ads.
Jason Wescoat July 18, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Not really. I just want to know where the "other" money is coming from. I can see that state receipts and fed funds, but there's an "other" category that I'm simply missing. No big deal, I'm just curious.
Jason Wescoat July 18, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the feds don't simply give a check to the states and say, "do what you want," correct? Outside of things like tobacco settlement money, I would think they would mandate where most of that money goes, meaning the state has no control. If I'm right, Mr. Jones original argument is relevant (of course, the state portion is still going up it seems), and if I'm wrong, then your comment here seems to be pretty accurate.
Brian R. Hook July 18, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Besides federal funds there are other mandated funds, either constitutionally or by state statute. The largest source of funds are for transportation, such as fuel tax and vehicle sales taxes. Also, lottery and riverboat gaming are dedicated to education. Others include a conservation sales tax. Along with the federal funds, these funds are not considered part of general revenue. - BRH
Brian R. Hook July 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM
That is correct. There are always stipulations. - BRH
Dave Cort July 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Of course you are not wrong Jason. Federal money is earmarked with all the strings attached. My point on that is that you can't say "I had no control" for you DO have control whether or not to even accept the federal money. But, that aside, it isn't just federal money the Congressman says he has no control over. The Consitution requires a certain percentage of budget be spent on education. Then there are unfunded requirements; pension payments, salaries, benefits, upkeep of buildings. These are must pay bills. So, after all that is said and done, the Congressman contends he spent less than last year. Who can say?? Not me. f anyone is able to check those facts in all the columns of numbers, it's Brian Hook, who makes it his full-time job to watchdog the budget process in the state capital. My point is, it doesn't matter. The Congressman is saying simply "I cut spending" because that is what voters who don't get the budget process and don't look up numbers want to hear. It is, in fact, disingenuous and borders on dishonest. He can say what I said above (if it's true), but he cannot just say "I cut spending" when in fact he's spending more than he did last year.
Jason Wescoat July 18, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Fair enough. Thanks for indulging me!
Jason Wescoat July 18, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Also, to a much older comment (and since I can't reply from my "smart" phone), Gov Nixon does claim to have cut 1.6 billion from the state budget on the budget summary his office put out. Long story short, all politicians say what they think people want to hear. Mr. Jones can be slammed by liberal politicians for making draconian cuts when he's really not cutting anything except proposed budgets, while at the same time, he can claim those cuts and be blasted as at best disingenuous. I'm glad I'm not a politician.
Brian R. Hook July 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Was that in the budget summary for fiscal 2013? I am not saying that it is not there. But I don't see it. Whoever wants to take credit or blame, total spending did drop in fiscal 2011 by $435.3 million compared to the previous year. Plus, the governor's proposal, before more was added in his own amendments and then another $1 billion by lawmakers, would have reduced spending by around $400 million. However, that does not add up to $1.6 billion. Please provide a link or email me a copy of the summary to brhook@missourijournal.com. I'd like to see it. - BRH
Jason Wescoat July 19, 2012 at 02:56 AM
http://oa.mo.gov/bp/budg2013/Budget_Summary.pdf Page 1, third paragraph down. "Since taking office, Governor Nixon has cut spending by $1.6 billion." He doesn't clarify where all those cuts were.
Brian R. Hook July 19, 2012 at 03:04 AM
See it now. I'm on it. Thanks. - BRH
Dave Cort July 19, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Quick note. Brian hook will be speaking about these issues (and more) tomorrow night (Friday) at 7PM on Missouri Grassroots Radio.
Jason Wescoat July 19, 2012 at 03:57 AM
My pleasure!
Brian R. Hook July 19, 2012 at 02:23 PM
The $1.6 billion is in reference to restrictions of expenditures. Therefore, after lawmakers appropriated the funds, there was not enough revenue to hit estimates, so the governor restricted that amount between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2012. Hypothetically, expenditures would have been $1.6 billion higher if all appropriations were spent.
Tom Martz July 19, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Revenues versus expenditures is what causes debt just ask the federal government. The people of MO were inclined to require a balanced budget only after the state got into some serious financial problems. Even if spending is held in check from one year to another if the revenues don't come in then budget cutting is required. This is NOT something any legislature should be able to take credit for because economic conditions will have caused it not the legislative body.
Michael Evan July 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Sorry to change the subject, but it is Friday July 27, 11:50 a.m. Monsanto is having their Monsanto Global Engineering Backyard Barbecue at this very moment in Mcdonnel park on Adie rd in St. Ann Mo in the lindbergh pavillion, the furthest one back. This is no joke! They even have the nerve to have a red and white checkered banner hanging up, as if it is some sweet grandmother's church picnic! I urge every thinking, caring person to get out there right now to strongly protest them and ruin their party. I saw them 30 minutes ago, cooking up lots of meat, while I was running in the park. These are the people that brought you genetic engineering on a global scale! This is a golden opportunity to protest them, rarely does one see them out in public, usually they are hiding behind their corporate walls. If you care about the food you eat and feed your children, go out there and protest them, and hold them accountable for all the environmental devastation they have caused! Te4ll every activist of every type to go there right now!GO! GO NOW!
Scott Simon August 23, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Well, what do you expect from a ex TV producer from an industry that's never admitted a Republican they liked?

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