Missouri House and Senate budget negotiators made key recommendations in Jefferson City on Monday, in their first day of meetings to resolve differences in $28 billion operating budgets approved by both chambers.
The Missouri Conference Committee on Budget is recommending the House position on the foundation formula for K-12 education, which is record funding of $98 million.
House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, successfully pushed for the House position.
“Senator (Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan) Brown and I both had our number one priority, that was mine and his is a little bit later on in the discussion and we both made sure we got our number one priority and that’s how that works sometimes,” Fitzpatrick tells the Capitol Press Corps.
Budget negotiators also recommended the Senate position on state employee pay on Monday.
Under the plan, state employees earning less than $70,000 would receive a $700 pay raise in January. Those making more than $70,000 would receive 1%.
About 14,000 state employees work in Cole County, making state government the largest employer in Jefferson City.
Meantime, a key state senator said Monday afternoon that she was prepared to filibuster on the Senate floor to protect $2 million in one-time funding recommended for Harris-Stowe State University.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, says Missouri’s historically-black colleges and universities are not being treated fairly.
“Here in the state of Missouri, they (state lawmakers) are doing a piss-poor job funding African-American universities,” Nasheed tells Missourinet. “And let me tell you, they don’t take the cream of the crop. They take anyone who wants to turn their lives around.”
Nasheed says Harris-Stowe is on the brink of losing its accreditation, because of faculty funding issues. She says the school currently receives 1% of Missouri’s Higher Education budget, describing that as “appalling.”
House Budget Committee Chair Fitzpatrick told Missourinet Monday evening that the conference committee put $750,000 of the $2 million request back in the budget Monday night, after Nasheed’s comments.
Fitzpatrick noted earlier Monday that the budget also includes another $750,000 in capital improvements for Harris-Stowe, which has a 160-year history.
The Missouri Constitution requires the legislature to approve a balanced budget by Friday evening.
All changes approved in the conference committee will have to go back to both the Missouri House and Senate for one more vote, by Friday evening.
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