Missouri’s next governor could face some tough budget choices early next year.

In a review of October’s tax collections released this week, Gov. Jay Nixon’s budget office reported that revenue increased 3.4 percent in the first four months of the fiscal year compared to the same period last year.

That’s a slower rate of growth than what lawmakers and Nixon had hoped for when crafting the state’s $27 billion spending blueprint.

Under that plan, they had projected a growth rate of just under 5.5 percent to ensure the budget would be balanced.

If the trend continues, it could mean either Democrat Chris Koster or Republican Eric Greitens will have to rein in spending in the first months of their administration, depending upon who wins.

Acting Budget Director Dan Haug described the latest monthly figures as lackluster, but not a cause for panic.

“I’d say it was sort of okay. Not great. Not terrible,” Haug said.

Although the growth rate is down from earlier projections, the growth in individual income taxes remained steady in October. Since the fiscal year began July 1, those taxes, which represent the bulk of state tax collections, have increased 5 percent.

Sales and use tax collections slowed in October, increasing 2.2 percent for the fiscal year.

Corporate income taxes continued their downward spiral, dropping 24.3 percent for the year.

Haug said the lower-than-anticipated figures were not unexpected.

Last month, after revenues increased 5.8 percent, Nixon restored some money he had cut from the budget. Nixon is term-limited and is not seeking re-election.

Haug said he believes revenue collections will improve in 2017, which could bode well for the winner of the governor’s race.

“I think the second half of the fiscal year will be a little better,” he said.

Although neither candidate has specifically outlined plans for what they will do with the budget they will inherit in January, Koster has said he hopes to eventually boost funding for education. Without a tax increase, that would mean other parts of state government would have to be cut. The two-term attorney general has not said where those reductions would occur.

Greitens, a political newcomer and former Navy SEAL, has said he plans to ask each state agency for a detailed outline of their spending in order to determine if it’s a needed expense.

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