Mission accomplished. On this state budget deadline day, the Missouri Legislature has passed a roughly $49 billion state operating budget. Lawmakers made it happen with about one hour to spare before their 6 p.m. deadline.

The FY 2024 spending plan begins July 1.

Highlights of the plan include:

•$3.6 billion in state aid to schools
•$2.8 billion to widen I-70 to at least three lanes from Wentzville to Blue Springs
•$300 million to build a psychiatric hospital in Kansas City
•$233 million to fully fund public school transportation costs
•$171 million to boost pay for workers caring for the developmentally disabled
•$78 million to increase rates for childcare providers
•$56 million for pre-K programs
•$50 million to help Jackson County Sports Authority organize the 2026 World Cup in Kansas City
•$50 million in school safety grants
•$43 million to build a veterinary hospital and lab
•$32 million to boost pay for experienced teachers doing extra work through the Career Ladder Program
•$29 million to raise the minimum public school teacher salary to $38,000
•$25 million to build a meat laboratory
•$13.7 million to add 100 Children’s Division employees to help keep families together
•$11.5 million to fight Missouri’s black vulture problems
•$11 million for Imagination Library, a reading program to provide a book monthly to Missouri children up to ag 5 at no charge
•$4.6 million in state funding to Missouri’s public libraries
•$2 million to help with Missouri National Guard recruitment
•$20% pay increase for Missouri State Highway patrol officers to deal with staffing shortages
•$7% funding increase for the state’s public colleges and universities

The final version of the budget does not include a House effort to ban state government spending on diversity, equity, and inclusion measures.

State Rep. Michael Burton, D-St. Louis, talked about Missouri’s infrastructure.

“Missouri is the 48th in the country at funding our roads and bridges,” said Burton. “That includes safety equipment. We can do better and we must do better.”

House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, said there’s a lot going on in the budget to help address mental health conditions and developmental disabilities. The plan would boost pay to workers caring for the state’s developmentally disabled. Under the proposal, they would get about $16 per hour.

“We had a large rate increase for them last year. This is another rate increase to help them combat inflationary pressure and help them address their workforce issues there. We continue to invest in the state of Missouri to try to deal with the occurrence of autism across the state. We are investing in autism research and some various facilities to deliver more services,” said Smith.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, highlighted the K-12 education budget bill.

“High points would be fully funding the foundation formula, fully funding the transportation categorical, making up the additional 30% grant on the baseline teacher pay of $38,000 a year for districts that want to be involved in that program,” said Hough.

State Sen. Lauren Arthur, D-Kansas City, is pleased with the bill.

“There is a lot of really good stuff for kids in this bill, including increased funding for childcare so that we know there will be more options, safe options available for parents. And you did a lot when it came to ensuring that teachers will encourage people to go into the teacher pipeline,” said Arthur. “Those who are in classrooms right now, we create incentives for many of them to stay. Most importantly, the starting teacher salary at $38,000, with no need for a match.”

State Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St.Louis, said he fully supports a 20% raise for state patrol troopers, but he said the budget does not go far enough.

“I think it is extremely frustrating to show the contrast in our willingness to do a substantial raise of 20% for law enforcement for highway patrol and for Capitol Police, while we refuse to do that for our mental health workers, we refuse to even do an 8.7% for the contractors that take care of our most vulnerable citizens, and we refuse to do it for teachers,” said Merideth.

State Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, made some lawmakers sweat on Thursday. He threatened to block any other work getting done in order to resolve a proposed Kansas City area landfill. After hours of delay and some negotiating behind the scenes, he eventually let it go.

The next stop for the budget outline is the governor, who will decide what he likes and what he opposes in the plan.

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