Increased pension costs add to Missouri budget issues

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jefferson city

Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (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 (http://bit.ly/2h037IP) 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.