One chamber down and one to go for Missouri’s $46 billion state budget proposal. The Missouri House of Representatives has passed the fiscal outline for the state budget year that begins in July.
The plan includes:
•$3.6 billion in state aid to K-12 public schools
•$480 million to the University of Missouri system
•$273 million to fully fund K-12 school transportation costs
•$254 million to help expand broadband internet access
•$176 million to Missouri’s community colleges
•$108 million to Missouri State University
•$84 million to the Access Missouri financial aid program
•$78 million to boost rates to childcare providers
•$63.7 million to the University of Central Missouri
•$56 million for pre-K programs
•$52.8 million to Southeast Missouri State University
•$50 million in K-12 school safety grants
•$48 million to Truman State University
•$45.5 million to reimburse counties for housing and transporting state prisoners
•$36 million to Northwest Missouri State University
•$32 million to boost the pay of experienced K-12 teachers for doing extra work
•$32 million in community grants to local governments impacted by the opioid epidemic
•$30.6 million to Lincoln University
•$30 million to Missouri Southern State University
•$28 million for 988 Crisis Lifeline efforts
•$26 million to add 134 workers to reform the Missouri Children’s Division
•$25.8 million to Missouri Western State University
•$25 million to attract semiconductor microchip manufacturing to the state
•$22 million to boost minimum teacher salaries to $38,000 through cost sharing
•$12.7 million to Harris Stowe State University
•$10.5 million for grants to help families address learning loss in their children
•$10 million for autism research
•$9 million to State Technical College of Missouri
•$6 million for Fast Track Workforce Incentive grants
•$2 million to help with Missouri National Guard recruitment
•Pay raises for state patrol officers and Capitol police
Most of Thursday’s state budget work was spent by House Democrats fighting against budget efforts that would ban state government spending on diversity initiatives. Despite their attempts, those provisions were left in the legislation.
What does the current version of the budget plan leave out? Gov. Mike Parson’s $859 million funding request to expand I-70 to six total lanes at chokepoints in the St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City areas. House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, removed the line item. He wants to discuss the request in House Bill 19, a funding bill with large building projects. Smith said he wants the committee to decide what its infrastructure priorities should be.
Another item missing is the governor’s ask for $250 million to hold onto for educational purposes when the state runs into tough financial times.
The budget proposal defunds public libraries to the tune of $4.5 million. Smith said the move is a result of a lawsuit about a state law banning sexually explicit material in school libraries. The Missouri Library Association, American Civil Liberties Union and the Association of School Libraries are suing the state over the law.
State Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Manchester, unsuccessfully attempted to increase pay for providers who care for people with disabilities. Staffing shortages have instead left some of these patients in jails and hospitals.
House Bills 1-15 head to the Senate, where Senators will get a chance to have their say in the budget. Plenty of changes are expected.
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