Gov. Mike Parson has until the end of the month to decide what stays and what goes in the Missouri Legislature’s $51.7 billion state operating budget proposal.

Parson told reporters that there will be line items vetoed in the fiscal plan.

“I mean, I don’t know how to sugarcoat that for anybody,” said Parson. But, you know, you’re looking at a huge supplemental down the road for the next administration, and I’m not going to hand tie them to where all of a sudden they walk into office and they don’t have funding.”

The legislature’s budget work is nearly $1 billion below his budget proposal.

“I am going to leave the state in good shape when I leave office, so I’m not going to let somebody come in here two or three months and all of a sudden say, ‘Hey, by the way, you owe a billion dollars.’ You’ve got to pay the bills – we owe that to the people that we owe the bills to. You’ve got to pay it,” he said. “I’m not sure why we didn’t have a good budget in the first place, but it’s not my job.”

Some of the highlights of the legislature’s budget proposal include:

•$17.2 billion to pay for Missouri’s Medicaid health care program for low-income residents
•$3.8 billion in state aid to K-12 public schools
•$1.1 billion in core funding for public higher education – $938 million for four-year colleges and universities, $179 million for two-year colleges.
•$727 million to widen I-44 to six lanes in Springfield, Joplin, and Rolla
•$361 million in K-12 school transportation funding
•$125 million increase in funding for the state’s nursing homes
•$100 million to upgrade Missouri’s low-volume roads
•$33 million to increase the minimum teacher salary to $40,000
•3.2% pay increase for state workers

The new state budget year begins July 1.

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