Members of the Missouri House hope to put their finishing touches on a $23 billion state budget for the next fiscal year Thursday. Work during the amendment process re-aligned the spending plan with slumping state tax revenue.
House Budget Committee members approved nearly $113 million in cuts before the 13 budget bills hit the House floor for debate. House members reduce spending another $111 million during two days of debate.
Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet, a Republican from Wildwood, said the biggest decision was to scrap a plan to increase school funding by more than $105 million, which he said was made shortly before debate began in the House.
“This was not a decision that was made one week ago at this time,” Icet told reporters. “A lot of these decisions were (made) within the past 24 to 48 hours as far as what actions would we take on the House floor in order to balance.”
Icet said the decision to freeze school spending at current levels made all the difference in hammering out a budget.
“We needed about $100 million in cuts, more or less, and with that amendment by itself we were able to get to where, at a minimum, I think we need to be,” Icet said. “Some other amendments were offer that just put more General Revenue back on the bottom line.”
Once the House gives final approval to the budget bills, they process shifts to the Senate. The legislature must approve a budget by May 7th, a week before the session ends.
The budget committee had been well into its work when revised estimates called for additional cuts. State tax revenues keeps slumping, forcing lawmakers to keep cutting.