Missouri’s nearly $51 billion state budget proposal is under consideration in the Senate. The spending proposal would widen I-44 to six lanes in Springfield, Joplin, and Rolla. It also includes a 3.2% pay increase for state workers and it would boost funding for Missouri’s nursing homes.

Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said with the limited time left in the legislative session, it’s going to be tough working on the budget.

“Getting through the process as we normally do to include the requisite number of weeks for the senate to take and put their stamp on the budget, the budget on the floor, to conference, and approving conference reports in the time that we have, is not going to be easy,” he said. 

While not specifically commenting on the proposed budget amount that passed the House of Representatives, Rowden reiterated his faith in Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, the Senate Appropriations Chair, to pass a balanced budget.

Sen. Doug Beck, D-Affton, wants to make sure his priorities make it into the final budget.

“We’re committed to increasing teacher pay, putting more money in the classroom for our kids and also providing service to Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens,” he said. “So those are the things that we’re going to make as priorities. Some of those things were cut out in the House, teacher pay and some other things. An example, House Republicans cut $62 million of federal money for consumer directed services and $109 million in federal money for home and community-based services.”

The spending plan includes $3.78 billion in state aid to K-12 public schools and $361 million to fully fund school transportation. The proposal also designates $55 million to boost childcare subsidy rates and $1.1 billion for the state’s colleges and universities.

The budget that the House passed included much more for I-44 than the initial budget request from Gov. Mike Parson. Sen. Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring, wants to make sure that the budget is balanced. 

“I think there’s a general interest that we’re going to continue to make exactly these kind of infrastructure improvements,” Eigel said. “I need to review some of the details of how they want to fund that and particularly when they want to fund that. So, I think that having both of our major highways under major construction at the same time may encourage some further discussion on that.”

The House’s budget proposal would also dedicate $100 million to upgrade Missouri’s low-volume roads.

Earlier story:

Missouri’s $51 billion state budget proposal reaches halfway point

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