Lawmakers are at work on the final version of the next state budget, a spending plan described as “unsettling, disappointing…but necessary.”
House and Senate negotiators have cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the budget the governor proposed in January. But it appears they have missed the target he asked them to shoot for by 50 million dollars and one senior lawmaker says as much as 200-million dollars in reductions might have to be made before the next fiscal year is done.
The senior Democrat on the Senate appropriations committee is Joan Bray, who was sobered by the cutting. “People are going to hurt in Missouri this year, hurt really badly,” she says.
The picture is complicated because a series of bills downsizing government either are still in a Senate committee or are waiting for a House hearing with only a couple of weeks left. Senate floor leader Kevin Engler says it’s a matter of who has enough guts in the House to get the bills passed.
Nothing in the legislature is impossible, however, until 6 p.m. May 14th when the session adjourns.