Legislature Sends Budget To Governor Early – Vetoes And Changes Still Possible


Setting a blazing pace for budget deliberations, Missouri lawmakers approved on Thursday a $26 billion state budget two weeks early — giving themselves time to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto pen before the end of the current legislative session.

The spending plan passed by the Legislature contained a number of compromises. Lawmakers decided against making $140 million in cuts to social programs, as proposed by Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia. The controversial plan, which would have lumped various programs within the departments of Mental Health, Health and Senior Services and Social Services together and skim 4 percent to 6 percent off the top, was removed from the budget Wednesday night in a compromise between the two chambers.

Schaefer had argued that the cuts would rein in spending in areas that continue to grow each year. But the plan immediately came under fire from Nixon and Senate Republican Leaders. House members, too, dug in their heels and demanded a compromise.

Schaefer agreed to a more modest, $40 million general revenue cut to those departments because it “starts to bend that cost curve.”

Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa, was glad the cuts were stymied. Mental health care, he said on the House floor Thursday, is important because “these are people who cannot take care of themselves. We have to take care of these people.”

For the complete story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, use the following link:http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/mo-legislature-sends-billion-budget-to-nixon-early/article_14f6b553-c8a1-5ff5-bbb0-066688e751d0.html

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