A nearly $21 billion state budget is on the verge of passing the legislature. Most of the operating budget that begins July first has been approved in the House, with the Senate not far behind. Republicans tout an education budget that tops $5 billion for the first time, while Democrats contend it falls short of what schools need. Democrat Margaret Donnelly of St. Louis notes debate on the Medicaid budget this year lacked the emotion and passion of a year ago when almost 100,000 recipients were cut from the Medicaid rolls. She says those people didn’t disappear and calls cuts that remain in the bill “a silent and possibly deadly virus that robs people of their health care, their independence and their peace of mind”. But Republican Bob Dixon of Springfield lists $20 million worth of Medicaid services restored in the current budget and contends critics did the Medicaid budget a disservice. Little debate is left on the budget, which should be wrapped up in short order Wednesday, well before the Friday at 6pm deadline.