Springfield, MO Learn more about the budget cuts announced January 2, 2003 and why the governor didn't make the announcement himself.
With the most recent round of budget cuts, the state department of social services took the biggest hit in terms of dollars cut. It will lose more than 11 million dollars. Linda Luebering, the budget director for the state of Missouri says she works with each department to determine where cuts will have the least impact on state services. All totaled, more than 67 million dollars will be withheld from state departments and agencies. That's well below the 300 million dollar mark, which is the estimated budget shortfall in the state. Luebering says the plan is to make up the difference by selling off interests in future payments from the tobacco settlement. But the hardest part of the announcement Luebbering says dealt with lay-offs. She announced that 96 state employees are losing their job.
Missy server-linda5a region-runs :34
Luebbering did not have the governor with her as she announced the lay-offs during a press conference in Jefferson City Thursday. And that drew criticism from some republican lawmakers. House majority leader-elect rod jetton called the governor weak for not making the announcement himself.
Missy server-rod2a-c regions-runs :26
According to Luebbering, inviting the governor to make the announcement was never a consideration. She says the budget director always announces withholdings.
Missy server-linda6a region-runs :33
When asked about his absence this week, the governor echoed the comments of his budget director. Missy server-gov1a-b region-runs :16
But in August of 2001 the governor announced a round of budget cuts and withholdings. Details from that press conference are available on the governor's own website. Besides criticizing the governor for being absent from the press conference, republicans also say it's wrong for the governor to cut 67 million dollars from state departments and then rely on proceeds from selling off tobacco settlement bonds to cover the rest of the 300 million dollar shortfall. But Luebbering defends the governor's plan to sell tobacco settlement bonds. Despite these early vollies between the Democratic governor and Republican leadership, both sides say they want to begin the session January eighth with a spirit of cooperation.