The task of reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget bills for the 2010 fiscal year that begins July 1st will get underway this week at the State Capitol. And some of those differences are significant.
Senator Gary Nodler (R-Joplin), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, believes some of the differences come about as a result of the Senate taking into account federal budget stabilization dollars. The House did not do so because the option was not available when the House budget process was being completed.
"That didn’t really exist in Missouri law through most of the process during which the House created their budget," said Nodler. "Therefore they proceeded with the assumption that they would be dealing with these dollars in a totally separate bill."
There are also philosophical spending differences between the House and Senate.
"The Senate budget is absolutely consistent with the priority spending that this State Legislature has done under the Republicans for the last decade or so," said Nodler. "So, I can’t tell you why the House has taken a different approach. But their approach is not consistent with the past spending priorities of the Legislature."
The State Constitution requires that work on the budget must be completed by 6 pm on the Friday prior to the last Friday of the session. This year the penultimate Friday is May 8th.