With the stroke of his veto pen, Gov. Mike Parson has slashed more than $555 million in the new $51 billion state budget.

Some of the items vetoed include:

•$28 million for some Interstate 44 improvements
•$25 million of $50 million assigned for Close the Gap grants to help families with tutoring, summer learning and other educational opportunities
•$15 million of $30 million designated to help victims of crime
•$15 million for a University of Missouri program that trains K-12 public schools about prosocial education
•$6.8 million in rural health behavioral crisis center expansions
•$5 million of $10 million proposed for autism research
•$3.7 million of $13.1 million in prevention and intervention to help at-risk youth
•$2.5 million to study whether it’s worth it to turn Highway 36 into Interstate 72
•$2 million to help with National Guard recruitment
•$1.8 million of $3.3 million designated for an electromagnetic brain treatment to help veterans and first responders with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder

Some of the items approved by the governor include:

•$3.6 billion in state aid to K-12 public schools
•$2.8 billion to widen Interstate 70 to at least six total lanes from the St. Louis to Kansas City areas
•$300 million to build a new Kansas City psychiatric hospital
•$289 million for capital improvement projects at public higher education schools
•$248 million for broadband deployment
•$233 million to fully fund public school transportation costs
•$171 million to boost pay to at least $16 per hour for workers caring for people with developmental disabilities
•$160 million to bolster pre-kindergarten and child care programs
•$71 million to boost core funding for the state’s public colleges and universities
•$60 million for rail crossing safety improvements
•$60 million to invest in semiconductor production
•$50 million to help protect schools from shooters and other threats
•$50 million to help Jackson County host the 2026 World Cup soccer games in Kansas City
•$43 million for a new veterinary hospital at the University of Missouri in Columbia
•$33 million to reform the Missouri Children’s Division
•$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 University of Missouri research slaughterhouse
•$13 million for targeted salary increases for the Missouri State Highway Patrol
•$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
•$7.2 million for the construction of a new Division of Youth Services center in St. Louis
•$4.6 million in state funding to Missouri’s public libraries
•$4.4 million to implement the Maternal Mortality Prevention plan
•$3.5 million for apprenticeship programs

Morgan Mundell, with Missourians for Transportation Investment, is thrilled with Parson’s decision to back the plan to widen Interstate 70.

“This probably is the largest public infrastructure project in the history of Missouri,” said Mundell. “And I’ve compared Missouri to a couple of other states. And my guess is more probably, as far as highway and road and bridge projects go, this will probably be one of the top five projects in the United States for the coming years.”

Doug Hayter, executive director of the Missouri Association of School Administrators, said the Legislature and governor continue to prioritize education.

“We’re certainly appreciative of the General Assembly and the governor -their financial support for baseline teacher salary grants to get our smaller rural districts to that $38,000 minimum teacher salary, which is extremely important. And you know, the full funding of transportation again this year, which had not been fully funded since the 90s prior to the last couple of years,” he said.

Hayter said the shortage of school workers must still be monitored on a continual basis to make sure enough people are educating children.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said it is pleased with the continued emphasis on education in the FY24 budget.

“Investments in early childhood education, child care, school safety, and supporting teacher salary improvements are greatly appreciated.”

The new state budget year begins Saturday.

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