A state law on the books since at least 1939, and last modified in 2003, may prevent Gov. Eric Greitens from keeping one of his State of the State promises.
During last week's half-hour State of the State address, Greitens told lawmakers: "Every year, the Governor's office printed thousands of pages of paper for its annual budget. And every year, many of those big books sat on shelves, unopened and collecting dust.
"So this year, we are putting the budget online and saving $3,601.50 in printing costs."
But Missouri law — in Section 33.270, part of the chapter on the executive branch's administration of state finances — says the budget "shall be submitted to the general assembly in printed form," and must be presented in two parts.
Greitens spokesman Parker Briden didn't return messages seeking a comment for this story.
Ryan Burns, spokeswoman for the state Office of Administration, told the News Tribune the governor's $3,601.50 in printing costs was last year's bill for the state's in-house printing of 350 copies.
That's $10.29 per copy — or, at 245 pages, 4.2 cents for each page.
Burns said last year's printing cost was down from $4,000 the state spent for printing the budget in 2015 and 2016.
State Rep. David Wood, R-Versailles, said: "I agree with the move to put the budget online, because we need to move in that direction and the advantages online documents have over paper."
Still, Wood said: "The only way this proposal saves money is if the Budget Committee agrees not to print the electronic copies in their offices.
"The cost to print on a printer is much higher than the cost of the print shop, so I doubt the full $3,601.50 can be counted as savings."
OA already puts the budget online.
Last year's complete booklet is available at oa.mo.gov/sites/default/files/FY_2018_Executive_Budget_Full_Version.pdf.
The law says the governor must provide lawmakers with:
A budget message "outlining the fiscal policy of the state (and) describing the important features of the budget plan."
That message must include "a summary of the budget setting forth aggregate figures of proposed revenues and expenditures and the total expected income and other means of financing the budget, compared with the corresponding figures for the preceding" two-year period.
The law also requires the governor to provide "detailed budget estimates of revenues and expenditures for each fund showing the recommendations of the governor on each, compared with the figures for each of the fiscal years of the preceding" two-year period.
Those details are to include comparisons "of each program and fund for the past three fiscal years and projected outcome measures for each program and fund for the current fiscal year and the next two fiscal years," as well as "the most recent reports done by the state auditor's office and any evaluations done by the oversight division of the committee on legislative research for each fund and program."
The detailed budget also must give "an explanation of each major change in the recommendations from the revenues and expenditures in the previous" two-year period, the law says.
The Missouri Constitution requires the governor to submit "a budget for the ensuing appropriation period, containing the estimated available revenues of the state and a complete and itemized plan of proposed expenditures of the state and all its agencies" to the Legislature within 30 days after regular session convenes.
This year, that deadline is Feb. 2.