Debate on how best to plug a projected $350-Million hole in the current state budget is set to begin next week in the Missouri House. House Speaker Catherine Hanaway of Warson Woods says she’s satisfied Governor Bob Holden is seriously considering the Republican alternative to his tobacco securitization proposal. Holden wants to convert about a billion dollars in tobacco settlement revenue into enough in bonds to cover the current budget shortfall. Republicans want to use $100-Million now, reserving $250-Million for next year. They have suggested alternative cuts. Hanaway is optimistic about negotiations between the two sides. Holden has said he would cut public schools by about $260-Million and colleges by $91-Million if Republicans don’t go along with his plan.
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