By Brad Tregnago of KSSZ

Governor Greitens (R) says he must withhold about $700 million over the next 18 months to balance Missouri’s state budget. Former state Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), who served as budget committee chairman, says it would be hard for Greitens to cut the state budget without taking some money from K-12 schools.

Former Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia)

Schaefer, who just left office, says state leaders need to work with Congress and President Trump’s administration on Medicaid reform.

“It’s where the largest growth is going in the state budget. It is where we spend the most money of our discretionary general revenue, which otherwise goes to public education. It goes to public safety and some other things.” says Schaefer.

Missouri’s 2017 fiscal year budget is about $27 billion – $12.5 billion is for social welfare programs and administration.

“It’s like going to a restaurant and you have no idea what the bill is going to be. You’re just going to eat and eat and eat,” says Schaefer. “There’s going to be a bill. When you get the bill, it’s like okay here’s the bill. We have to pay it. That’s how Medicaid works right now.”

Greitens plans to announce his FY18 budget proposal during an address to the General Assembly in February.