The state Senate is moving to do something about a decade of neglect of state buildings.
Senator Mike Parson of Bolivar has won tentative approval of his plan to increase the amount of money the state can borrow by 400-milion dollars. The money would be used for a new Fulton state hospital and for repairs on 313 projects involving state buildings, and buildings in the higher education system.
But a few Senators object. One is St. Louis Senator John Lamping, who says his fellow Republicans are to blame for the decade of neglect because they haven’t budgeted for repairs as they were needed. And now, he says, “We’re up against the debt ceiling. We cannot borrow more, and now we’re voting to raise the debt ceiling.”
He and six other Republicans voted not to do that. But 26 senators of both parties favor the plan, which could be sent to the House next week.
Parson’s proposal would use bond money for 32 projects within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 28 repair projects in the prison system, 21 projects with Mental Health, nineteen under the Division of Youth Services, forty general projects under the Office of Administration and scattered projects for the State Fair, the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, and the Veterans Commission.
State law says state government cannot issue bonds for more than $775 million. Parson’s bill would lift that limit to $1.175 billion.