A $26-billion proposal for how the state should spend money for the year starting July 1 is on the governor’s desk.
Senate Leader Tom Dempsey is happy with the result.
“You look at what we fund to determine our priorities, and when I look at the budget I see almost $100-million in new education funding. $84-million in K-12 and [$12-million] more for the A-plus scholarship program,” Dempsey told reporters Thursday.
The state’s formula for K-12 education funding remains $442-million underfunded.
Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer’s plan to step what he says is an ever-growing percentage of the budget going to social programs was changed, but he says what was passed is a start.
“It’s 32-percent growth since 2009, and at the same time three-percent growth for higher-education and eight-percent growth for K-12,” said Schaefer. He and House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Flanigan say the amount of money that goes to those programs should be closely studied before the next legislative session.
The legislature’s plan also includes an expansion of managed care for 200,000 parents and children, shifting them from Medicaid to privatized care.
Some state lawmakers objected to the removal of language from the proposed budget meant to prevent the extension of existing bond debt to pay for a new NFL stadium in St. Louis, without a vote of the people.
A couple of those lawmakers blame House Speaker John Diehl (R-Town and Country) for wanting it out, but he says his position on the stadium issue hasn’t changed: “That any new sports facility is subject to a vote by the voters of St. Louis City and St. Louis County, and the governor should come to the General Assembly for any authorization of debt.”
The budget has been sent to Governor Nixon two weeks early. Republican lawmakers believe Nixon will have to act on the budget quickly enough that they will have time to consider overriding any vetoes he might make before the session ends May 15. Schaefer additionally believes the Constitution requires only a simple majority vote of the legislature to overturn a veto during the session, as opposed to the two-thirds majority normally needed.
Governor Nixon says he will review the proposal.