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New Support for Lump Sum Budget

Springfield, MO When the Missouri House of Representatives decided to give state department slump sums rather than line item budgets dictating how to spend the money, mostdemocrats were outraged. But as Missy Shelton reports, some department directors, many of them appointeesof Missouri's democratic governor say the lump sum approach isn't all bad.

In its effort to balance the budget, the Missouri House did something radical.

Lawmakers threw out thousands of line item expenditures and replaced them with lump sum appropriations, leaving it up to the directors of state departments to decide how to spend the money.

Quentin Wilson used to be the director of the revenue department...Now, he's the director of the higher education department.

He says giving administrators a lot of flexability can improve performance.

The House budget reflected deep cuts necessary to balance the budget without tax increases...They did not specify how department directors should deal with their significantly slashed budgets.

Wilson says that's what makes this approach difficult to implement.

But he says lump sum appropriations can work.

Wilson says during his tenure at the department of revenue, he saw how flexability along with adequate resources and clearly articulated expectations can improve performance.

At least one other department director says he's already looked into how some other states use lump sum appropriations.

I'm Missy Shelton for KSMU.