Increased pension costs add to Missouri budget issues

     (AP) – The cost of funding Missouri’s state employee pensions

will increase nearly $50 million in the next fiscal year as investment losses

and lower earnings expectations push taxpayer contributions to the highest share

of state payroll in the program’s history.

     The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that $28.6 million in general revenue will

be needed to cover pensions. That could deepen proposed cuts in other programs

and further hurt a state budget suffering from feeble revenue growth and

increasing demands from programs with mandatory costs.

     House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, a Republican, wants Gov.

Jay Nixon to increase the current $152 million in general revenue withholdings

to balance the budget before Gov.-elect Eric Greitens takes office Jan. 9.

     Fitzpatrick says legislative budget staff will meet with administration

analysts this week.


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