Government & Politics

Auditor again hits Jay Nixon on Missouri budget withholdings

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich’s ongoing battle with Gov. Jay Nixon’s budget policy continued Monday.

In a scathing report, Schweich accused Nixon of violating the state constitution by withholding authorized state expenditures in 2011 and 2012.

“The Governor’s actions to restrict fiscal year 2012 GRF expenditures violated the Missouri Constitution because actual revenues exceeded estimated revenues,” he wrote. “Lawful mechanisms that would preserve the constitutionally-mandated separation of powers were available to address any crisis impacting the budget.”

In its response, the governor’s office said withholdings are the preferred method of making sure the budget is balanced.

“The audit asserts that vetoes, supplemental appropriations, and the Budget Reserve Fund would have been better ways to deal with budget shortfalls than expenditure reductions,” it said.

“While the auditor is entitled to his opinion, it is not the auditor’s responsibility to make such policy decisions.”