The state House has approved a supplemental budget bill that would use higher-than-expected state revenue to pay for some state facilities’ needs.
The state budget director says revenue collections are up 11.2 percent compared to this time last year and 27.4 percent over April 2012. Governor Jay Nixon has proposed putting $121 million of that extra income to use, and House leadership says it and the Senate are on board.
They propose using $13 million to design and plan a new Fulton State Mental Hospital to replace a facility the Mental Health Department says is outdated and unsafe.
The hospital is in the district of Representative Jeannie Riddle (R-Mokane). She says this would be a great step forward.
“It doesn’t look like a hospital. It doesn’t feel like a hospital. It was built so long ago that the practices that we like to participate now in the mental health issues are not anything like they had, so the facility doesn’t match how they need to handle the care. So for the clients that are there, for the staff that work there, I think it’s a light in the darkness right now.”
The plan would also spend $50 million on renovations at the State Capitol.
Representative Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage) is a member of the State Capitol Commission. He says that money will be used to increase the control of the environment inside the building.
“Windows to seal off the building and then a hi-vac system, so they can suck out all the humidity in the building because you’ve got to start somewhere before you can even get to the artwork … you’ve got to seal it off and you’ve got to be able to maintain the humidity in the building.”
$38 million is proposed to build a new state office building on the site of the historic Missouri State Penitentiary, 8 blocks from the Capitol along the Missouri River. The prison that opened in 1836 was decommissioned in September 2004 and Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) says putting a new facility there would accomplish two goals.
“The priority for me for the site is first to kickstart economic development there, second, preserve the historic sites, and to do both of those things at the same time, which I think is entirely possible.”
The building would house state offices that are currently in leased space. House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) says that would make up the cost of the building in about 7 to 10 years, in money saved by ending those leases.
The plan would also spend at least $25.4 million on capital improvements, maintenance, repairs and renovations at state parks and historic sites.
The bill has been sent to the Senate.