The state legislature will vote today on a proposed $26-billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Budget negotiators from the two chambers agreed to scrap a plan that would have reshaped how the departments of Health, Mental Health, and Social Services are funded. Senate Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) had insisted on that restructuring in order to cut welfare spending.
“I’ve raised this issue before. We see exponential growth in welfare programs, particularly in Medicaid in House Bills 10 and 11, yet at the same time we’ve got three-percent growth in higher ed, we’ve got eight-percent growth in K-12 [education],” said Schaefer. “What I tried to do in this budget – and we did it, I wish we would have done it more – is bend that curve.”
The two chambers did agree to cut four- to six-percent from what those agencies had asked for.
Language was removed from the budget for the Office of Administration that would prevent Governor Jay Nixon from authorizing bonds to pay for a new NFL stadium in St. Louis. Senator Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) said that’s why he and several other lawmakers from both parties who conferred on that bill, didn’t sign off on it.
“Apparently the Speaker of the House is not a fan of that language and demanded that it come out,” said Silvey. “It was pretty forcefully removed during the debate and as a result, they had a hard time getting the requisite signatures to pass the committee report out.”
That issue caused a delay of more than an hour after the House-Senate budget conference committee had announced the changes in the budget bills.
Republican leaders want to get those 13 budget bills sent to Governor Nixon today.