The amount of money to finance Missouri’s schools is an issue to the state Senate this afternoon when senators start looking at its version of the state budget. The House has approved its version. Both proposals are likely to be millions of dollars less than Governor Nixon’s proposal in January.
Nixon had proposed a two year plan to bring elementary and secondary funding up to levels the legislature promised in 2005. Senate appropriations chairman Kurt Schafer of Columbia says that’s not likely even though the Senate has approved a tax cut that sponsors say gives the legislature two years to get caught up with education funding. “I don’t see us getting to full funding anytime soon,” says Schaefer. “Hinging a tax bill on that makes the effectiveness of that tax bill a little bit suspect.”
One complicating uncertainty in the budget is funding for the new Fulton State Hospital. Lawmakers have set forth three ways to finance it.
One major program not in the proposed budget from either chamber was a big item for Nixon in January–Medicaid expansion. Not even former Senator Christopher Bond, who has been hired to lobby for it, has been able to budge opponents in the Senate.