Cole Co. trial judge upholds governors’ budget powers

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A judge has upheld the authority of Missouri governors to control spending, while concluding that a common budgeting tactic runs afoul of the state constitution.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem rejected a challenge to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s ability to control the rate of spending and to hold back money when revenue is short. Republican Auditor Tom Schweich (schwyk) had sued last year over some of Nixon’s budget decisions.

Beetem’s ruling was dated last week but released Friday. The judge ruled it was unconstitutional to include an estimate for certain budget items that allows more money to be spent if it is available.

Beetem said it violated a requirement to distinctly specify the amount and purpose for budget appropriations, but he stayed the effect to allow for any appeals.

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