CHICAGO - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed off on the bills that make up the state's $26 billion fiscal 2016 spending plan.
"I appreciate the General Assembly for once again passing a budget on time, and providing the fiscal certainty and stability that's an important part of maintaining our AAA credit rating," Nixon said in a statement May 8.
The budget provides more than $100 million in additional public school funding and $12 million for higher education.
Nixon said he was disappointed lawmakers cut $90 million for services that support the elderly and people with disabilities and $2 million for cyber security initiatives.
The quick clip at which the GOP-controlled legislature signed off on the spending plan gave the majority more time to act on possible overrides of any of the Democratic governor's potential vetoes ahead of a May 15 adjournment date. In the past, overrides more often have been attempted in a fall veto session. A two-thirds majority vote is required to override.
Rating agencies last year affirmed Missouri's triple-A ratings. They also warned they are watching to see how the state deals with income tax cuts and what future action the legislature might take to challenge the governor's budget withholding powers, which were weakened in a voter-approved referendum in November.
Nixon is expected to sign reforms approved by lawmakers to the municipal court system. It would tighten caps on the percentage of a local government's operating budget that can come from court-related fine revenue. The amount would be limited to 12.5 % in St. Louis County and 20 % elsewhere in the state.
Local governments' heavy use of court fine revenue to balance their budgets came under scrutiny in the wake of civil unrest after a white Ferguson police officer's shot to death Michael Brown, an unarmed black man.
Nixon is also expected to sign legislation approving the use of previously authorized borrowing to fund $161.5 million in projects for state and universities, $75 million for the state capitol and annex renovation, and $77.8 million for other state facilities. The Missouri Development Finance Board was also authorized to issue $8 million to help fund a business incubator in St. Louis and $35 million for a state historical society building and museum.
"The timing and frequency of the above bond issuances is not known at this time, however, we do not expect to issue the entire amount at once. House Bill 19 is currently awaiting Governor's action," said Stacy Neal, director of the Division of Accounting in the Department of Administration.