Gov. Mike Parson has rolled out a $47 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year. The plan is about a $12 billion increase over the current fiscal year’s budget, a nice chunk being made up of a flow of federal dollars and new revenue.

Gov. Mike Parson (Photo by Tim Bommel, House Communications)

Parson released his budget outline Wednesday during his annual State of the State Address. Now it’s up to the Missouri Legislature to decide what components of the governor’s fiscal plan they will back and what components they will change.

The governor spent a great deal of time talking about workforce development – one of his priorities since taking office in 2018.

“Whether you live in the bootheel, the Ozarks, St. Louis, Kansas City, or anywhere across the state, our relentless focus on workforce development and infrastructure is paying dividends for all Missourians,” said Parson. “We are finding economic success, but with 116,000 job openings across the state, now more than ever, it is important to double down on workforce development and skill up our workers to fill these open jobs. Whether in our small towns, big cities, or anywhere in between, Missouri is open for business…and business is good. The bottom line is Missouri’s economy is strong. We will be making investments in the future, because in Missouri, we took a common sense approach to the pandemic, never shutdown businesses, and have always had a conservative and balanced budget.”

He also touted his Fast Track Workforce Development Grant Program.

“In just a short time, and despite the pandemic, our Fast Track program saw a 65 percent increase in participants in 2021. To our surprise, 80 percent of the recipients are women and 50 percent are first-generation college students. Additionally, more than 50 percent are enrolled in health care programs, which has become a blessing considering the past 22 months,” said Parson.

Here are some of the key items from Parson’s budget request to state lawmakers:

*$3.56 billion to fund Missouri’s K-12 public schools – the same amount as appropriated for the current fiscal year.

*$722 million to strengthen Missouri’s child care network

*$500 million to the Missouri State Employee Retirement System

*Nearly $470 million to fund capital improvement projects at Missouri’s higher education institutions.

*$400 million for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems.

*$400 million toward broadband expansion projects statewide, connecting 75,000 households to high-speed internet.

*$250 million for a statewide revitalization program. With local matching, Parson says the competitive grant program will encourage strategic local investments to revitalize communities spur local economic recovery and growth.

*$228 million to provide a pay increase for state workers. This includes a $15/hr minimum wage and a 5.5% cost of living adjustment. Missouri has one of the lowest paid state work forces in the country. State Budget Director Dan Haug says Missouri has about 4,500 state worker vacancies.

*Nearly $140 million in certain community health centers across the state to help meet the increased demand for mental health and substance use disorder services.

*$126 million to modernize the state’s IT infrastructure.

*$114 million for K-12 public school bus transportation – the same as allocated for the current fiscal year.

*$105 million to build a new public safety crime lab.

*$100 million for maintenance to low-volume roads.

$95 million to support small businesses by providing access to capital funding to invest in new enterprises.

*$75 million for the Transportation Cost-Share program for local infrastructure projects.

*$69 million to begin construction of the Rock Island Trail, which the governor says will become the largest circular rail-to-trail network in the United States.

*$51.6 million increase in core funding for the state’s four-year institutions, community colleges and State Technical College of Missouri.

$50 million to provide residential services and in-home support to nearly 1,700 new individuals with developmental disabilities and 960 new individuals with behavioral health needs.

*$43 million for a new arena at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia and 600 new campsites at the fairgrounds to attract national events.

*$34 million to increase telehealth and telemedicine services in rural communities and the construction of a new multi-agency health lab.

$26.2 million to expand meals and other supportive services provided by the Area Agencies on Aging.

$23 million to increase support for Missouri veterans and the state’s seven veterans homes.

*$22 million to boost the base pay for Missouri’s K-12 public school teachers. Under Parson’s plan, the state would finance 70% of the funds needed for districts to boost their base teacher salary to $38,000 and the district would provide the remaining 30%. Missouri’s starting teacher pay of $25,000 has not been increased in about 16 years.

*$20 million for the state’s 57 area career centers.

*$11 million to upgrade Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) academies and provide more scholarships for law enforcement officers getting certified.

*$10 million to expand agriculture innovation and workforce programs.

*$4.2 million to double the capacity of Missouri’s six autism centers to help more families navigate the challenges of diagnosing and treating autism as well as reduce wait times for families needing services.

$4 million to create a 24/7 telehealth network for medical providers to access mentoring, consultation services, guidance, and technical assistance related to forensic examinations for sexual assault survivors.

$3 million for a new 15-bed inpatient unit and a team of clinicians at Fulton State Hospital for individuals with developmental disabilities requiring inpatient psychiatric care.

$2.5 million for Missouri’s prescription drug monitoring program.

$1.2 million to streamline communication systems to help promptly notify law enforcement and victims of violence crime of changes in an offender’s custody status.

*$590,000 and 12 staff to provide investigative and paralegal support to the Missouri Public Defender System.

*$300,000 for Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), an organization providing school services to help at-risk students graduate from high school.

*Transfer operations from Western Missouri Correctional Center in Cameron to the other prison there – Crossroads Correctional Center. In 2019, Missouri consolidated the two northwest Missouri prisons to help improve staffing. With the reduced offender population, the Missouri Department of Corrections says it can move operations from the larger prison to the smaller Crossroads prison, which is a newer and a more modern institution.

To view the governor’s 2023 fiscal year budget proposal, click here.

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