In April, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that Missouri is one of only 13 states projecting stable or optimistic revenue outlooks for 2009. "Responsible budgeting has placed Missouri in the small category of states that are not experiencing budget shortfalls, deficits and other problems plaguing their fiscal stability," said Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt yesterday in a release.
"Strong, conservative management of Missouri's budget over the last three and a half years has turned a $1.1 billion deficit into three consecutive surpluses while cutting taxes and increasing education funding by $1.2 billion which is the largest such increase without a tax increase in Missouri's history."
Among measures Blunt credits for the surplus are:
- Reduced the state work force to fewer than 60,000 employees for the first time in years
- Eliminated more than 235,000 square feet of wasted office space
- Identified innumerable ways to save taxpayer dollars, from consolidating maintenance and janitorial services to restructuring the state's entire information technology (IT) support system
- Reduced and consolidated energy use to save taxpayers nearly $16 million in energy costs every year. Initiatives range from centralizing and monitoring statewide energy consumption to utilizing landfill gases as a heating source
- Put an end to duplicate services across departments
In May, Blunt announced that the Missouri Accountability Portal (MAP) -- providing information on how tax dollars are spent -- had topped 7 million hits. A year ago, GT carried a story by William Bott, deputy for operations to Missouri's CIO about the Governor's technology consolidation initiatives.