Mo. lawmaker plans budget constitutional amendment

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker plans to push for a Missouri constitutional amendment to limit the governor’s power to cut the budget.

Gov. Jay Nixon this year froze spending of $400 million while waiting to see if the Legislature would override his veto of a tax-cutting bill. On Thursday — one day after the veto was sustained — Nixon said he is releasing $215 million.

House Republican Todd Richardson, of Poplar Bluff, says Nixon froze the money to exert political pressure on lawmakers. Richardson says he believes governors are limited in their budget-cutting power to times of emergency or funding shortages. However, he said Nixon’s actions have created uncertainty.

Missouri lawmakers return to the Capitol in January for the 2014 session. A constitutional amendment would require approval from voters.

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