House Communications - News
8/23 - Fitzpatrick Named House Budget Chairman
The Missouri House Budget Committee's next chairman will be Representative Scott Fitzpatrick, House Republican leadership announced.
Fitzpatrick has served on the budget committee since he became a House member in 2013 and has been its vice chairman for the past two years. He will replace Representative Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage) who is leaving the House because of term limits.
Fitzpatrick said he’s been interested in the state budget process since being elected to the House.
“The way the people’s tax dollars are spent is extremely important,” said Fitzpatrick. “Passing a budget is the one constitutional responsibility of the legislature that we have to do if we do nothing else … I consider it the most important task that we have.”
The Shell Knob Republican has two personal goals. One is to fully fund the foundation formula for Missouri’s K-12 schools. Fitzpatrick said after the passage this year of a bill that reinstates a cap in growth of the amount needed to fully fund that formula, that goal is attainable.
“I’d love to do it [in the next budget]. I think what we have to do before we can make that commitment is,
number one, since FY 16 finished off pretty weak revenue wise we need to watch how FY 17’s revenues are looking as we get further into the year, and then we need to look at whether there’s going to be any supplemental requests for the department that we have to fund,” said Fitzpatrick. “If those two things stay manageable then I think it’s a possibility we could fully fund the foundation formula this year.”
His other personal goal for his time as budget chair is to pay off the state’s general obligation debt - debt on things like bonds that pay for capital improvements and work taking place now on the State Capitol.
“If there is not sufficient revenue to pay that debt the Commissioner of Administration has the constitutional authority to levy a statewide property tax at a level required to pay the debt,”
said Fitzpatrick. “I don’t think any unelected bureaucrat should have the authority under any circumstances to levy a statewide property tax so I would like to pay off the general obligation debt of the state before I leave the House.”
It would take approximately $74.3-million to fully fund the foundation formula in Fiscal Year 2018. The sum of Missouri’s remaining payments on general obligation debt through 2023 is more than $169-million.
He will become budget chairman at the same time that the state will have a new governor, and a new chairman will take over the Senate budget committee. Fitzpatrick, who has been critical of Governor Jay Nixon’s approach to the budget process, hopes the next governor will be more involved.
“Depending on how actively involved the governor is in the legislative process will determine how that relationship works. I think that the senate relationship will be relatively similar because we have to be on the same page at some point to pass the budget,” said Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick is unopposed in the race for the 158th House District.
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