Gov. Mike Parson is freezing another $47 million in the current state budget to help Missouri fight the coronavirus. The largest chunks of funding being withheld are nearly $16 million to K-12 education and $7.1 million in school bus transportation costs. During today’s virtual briefing, Parson says the restrictions will be felt by seven other state agencies, the Attorney General’s Office and the Legislature.

Gov. Mike Parson (Photo courtesy of governor’s Flickr page)

“COVID-19 is unlike anything we have ever dealt with before, and like many families during this time, we are having to make adjustments and cut back on our state expenditures,” says Parson. “These are not easy decisions, but this is the right thing to do to ensure our budget is balanced and that we are financially prepared to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 going forward.”

To view the full list of funding restrictions, click here.

On April 1, Parson announced $180 million in budget withholds – more than $81 million was to the Missouri Department of Higher Education. Other agencies affected were the Missouri Office of Administration, Transportation, Economic Development and Natural Resources.

Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten (Photo courtesy of governor’s Flickr page)

Meanwhile, a vendor has given a refund to the state for an order of protective masks that did not fit correctly. The Columbia Daily Tribune reports Missouri paid $9 million in advance to NMS LLC of St. Louis to secure 3.9 million masks. Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten says discussions determined that the vendor remains committed to helping Missouri get more protective equipment to fight the coronavirus.

“During those talks, it became clear the vendor was no opposed to and never was opposed to refunding the state the deposit paid for the order,” says Karsten.

Karsten says the agreement resolves all refund issues with vendors used to get personal protective gear. She says the state will no longer be buying KN95 respirator masks.

More than 5,800 people have tested positive in Missouri for the coronavirus and 177 people have died as a result of the respiratory disease.

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