State Senator Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, says many state departments are using money saved from vacant jobs on other things. Hoskins, a Senate Appropriations Committee member, calls the tactic a slush fund.

Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg

“It would be almost like giving your managers a blank check and say ‘Hey, you said you needed 200 employees in this department. You only hired 150 and you kept the funding for the other 50 that we were going to give you to hire those employees and used it for whatever you wanted to,’” Hoskins explains.

During Senate floor debate, Hoskins says the committee has identified more than 1,000 state positions unfilled for six months to several years. He says the departments need to be upfront with lawmakers and taxpayers.

“We’re being hoodwinked,” he says. “All we’re asking for is some transparency.”

He says some departments might contract out the unfilled jobs, but those positions need to be in a different part of the budget.

He plans to question agencies about this tactic during the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee’s budget hearing on Tuesday.

The Missouri House has passed a $29.2 billion State operating budget.

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