The Senate Budget Committee began this morning making changes to the proposed 27.1-billion dollar state spending plan for the year that begins July 1.

Senator Kurt Schaefer

Senator Kurt Schaefer

The committee will continue this week going through the thirteen bills that make up the budget and propose changes to the plan passed by the House. Once the Senate votes on a plan of its own, the House and Senate will have to agree on a final version to send to Governor Jay Nixon.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) maintains it would take more general revenue growth than the state is projected to bring in to fund Medicaid and other health programs.

The legislature and governor agreed on a projection of 4.1-percent growth for Fiscal Year 2017, or about $366-million. He said for fund Medicaid and other programs in the budget for the state Department of Social Services would take $395-million in new General Revenue.

Schaefer told the committee members, “I want everyone to keep in their mind as we go through this budget and they want certain things added, which I’m fine with – it’s your job to do things for your district – but everyone needs to keep in mind that if we go along with House Bill 11 as-is, there is no money for anything else.”

Schaefer said in particular, Medicaid pharmacy spending has doubled from about $980-million five years ago to $1.8-billion. He and other Republicans say if Medicaid continues to grow as it has in recent years, the state won’t be able to afford it.

“I know that everyone on this committee can look at those trends, and pharmacy is just one of them in House Bill 11, and realize that is completely unsustainable,” said Schaefer. “Everything every year has been going to nothing but growing Medicaid, and it has to stop.”

The committee has delayed a decision on whether it will agree with the House and eliminate most of a proposed increase in performance-based aid to state colleges and universities, and cut $8.6-million dollars from the University of Missouri.