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State Budget Woes

Springfield, MO When Missouri's legislative session begins January eighth, lawmakers will face a revenue shortfall. To help put Missouri's fiscal problems in perspective, KSMU's Missy Shelton recently spoke with an expert on state budgets.

Related Link: Council of State Governments

The council of state governments is a non-partisan, non-profit organization designed to provide a way for state governments to share ideas, network and form partnerships. Sujit Canaga Retna is a regional representative with the organization. He studies trends in state budgets in the southern region, which includes Missouri.

I recently spoke to him about the budget shortfall facing Missouri. Sujit, in general terms what are the causes of the budget shortfalls we're seeing in many states, including Missouri? Missy server-sujit1a-b, 2a-c regions-runs :49

Missouri's budget shortfall is projected to be around 500 million dollars. How does that compare to the budget problems in other states? Missy server-suj3, 3aa, new3a, 3b regions-runs :38

In the last legislative session, Missouri lawmakers debated and ultimately rejected using money from the state's emergency fund to cover the budget shortfall. I understand a number of other states have used their rainy day funds in these tight budget times. Missy server-suj4a region-runs :23

For the upcoming session, Missouri's governor Bob Holden has proposed what he calls closing tax loopholes that some businesses use. Republicans in Missouri equate his proposal with tax increases. What have other states been doing in terms of raising taxes? Missy server-suj5a, new5b, 5c (2nd), 5c (1st) regions-runs :52

And finally, Sujit, is it all doom and gloom for the states with budget shortfalls? Missy server-sujit7a-new7d regions-runs :40

I'd like to thank Sujit Canaga Retna with the council of state governments for joining me to talk about state budget shortfalls.