February 13, 2016

Senate to start budget debate (AUDIO)

The next step in figuring out how much money will go into state progrms and services begins today in the state senate.

The people who parcel out funds for the state budget think it’s going to cost about $24 billion dollars to finance mental health services, public schools, higher education, public safety, roads and bridges — all of the things that make up state government.

The House has written its version. Now the senate is about to start determining its priorities.

Appropriations chairman Kurt Schaefer of Columbia says the Hosue and Senate have agreed not to cut spending on higher education from this year’s levels, taking one improtant issue off the table for later negotiations. Governor Nixon had recommended cuts.

His committee had to find $87 million dollars in cuts to the House and the Governor’s recommendations because the legisalture has failed to pass a tax amnesty bill that would have increased revenues.

The House and Senate need to work out their differences and send the budget to the governor in two weeks.

AUDIO: Schafer interview 8:20