Governor Mike Parson approved the new fiscal year 2021 budget bills totaling about $35.3 billion and vetoed 17 line items amounting to $11 million. However, continued revenue shortfalls expected because of the COVID-19 crisis have prompted him to block spending on $448 million in the budget, unless the economy gets healthier.

Schools and higher education took the brunt of singular cuts, though employee layoffs will be mainly in the mental health and social services agencies.

Itemized list of budget items withheld

At Thursday’s regular briefing, Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick gave an update on the work of the special working group appointed by the governor to make spending suggestions for federal COVID-19 stimulus funds.

Parson talked about the seriousness of the state’s COVID-19 death toll, now at one thousand. State Health Director Randall Williams intensified his call for wearing of masks in certain situations” “the more we learn the more important we realize that is.”