JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri state government got more bad budget news Thursday that led to another round of budget cuts.
On Thursday, the state's budget director announced an unexpectedly low drop in collections for the current month as of April 20, as income tax payments are being processed.
It's possible that April will improve as we continue through the month, but right now it's looking like we're going to have a very bad April," said State Budget Director Linda Luebbering.
Luebbering said Missouri's April tax collections are down 19 percent for the first 20 days of the month compared to the same period last year. A major part of the decline was because income taxes paid to the state for 2009 have been below expectations.
Income tax payments have dropped 30 percent, while refunds of withholdings increased by 8 percent, Luebbering said.
"Not only is the average payment down, but the number of payments is down" Luebbering said.
Because of the economic downturn in 2009, the state had expected a decline in income tax collections, but not as great as has emerged since the 2009 filing deadline has passed. Further, Luebbering said current income withholdings for 2010 have not risen as much as expected.
The unexpected tax collection drop was cited in the administration's announcement that another $45 million in state spending will be curtailed.
Including Thursday's withholdings, the state has held back more than $900 million originally appropriated for the 2010 fiscal year budget year that ends on June 30.
Thursday's cuts included $4.9 million to the Parents as Teachers program, bringing its total withhold for the year to nearly $7 million.
The governor also slashed $8 million in transportation funding from the Elementary and Secondary Education Department, bringing the total year-to-date slash in education transportation cuts for the department to $12 million.
"That was a very difficult decision for the governor, but it's just one that we had to make given where we are," Luebbering said.
Other cuts in planned spending include: