How Senate And House Versions Of Senior Service Funding Bills Differ

As this story is posted, the Missouri Legislature continues to debate funding options for Missouri senior services. The Senate version of legislation, contained in HCB 3 creates a Senior Protection Fund; protects the circuit breaker tax credit; and maintains qualifications for in-home and nursing home care at current levels.

Earlier this evening, Representative Fitzpatrick proposed and the House approved an amendment to SB 217 that would create a new mechanism for funding the Senior Protection Fund. The measure requires state revenue to grow above $9.0973 billion in the current year (by June 30th) in order to fund the Senior Protection Fund. Amounts over the threshold would then be deposited.

Unfortunately, thresholds in this House substitute provide no guarantee for ongoing or current funding for existing senior services. Not only is the threshold amount higher than the revenue estimate for the year, it is likely unattainable. As of April 30th, net general revenue was at $7.636 billion. To attain $9.0973 billion by June 30th, net general revenue needs to grow by 6% for the remaining 2 months of the year (compared to the same 2 months in FY 2016). In addition, tax refunds this year are considerably lower than they were last year at the same point in the year, meaning revenue growth is likely to slow for the remainder of the year.

What does that mean? In simple terms, it means that senior services statewide would be forced to suspend unless target numbers were attained – and even then, funding would be discretionary and only come later in the year.

The Senate version of the funding mechanism would provide funding for senior programs immediately; would provide a method for funding such programs without creating a budget deficit scenario; and would allow services to continue without disruption through the current and next budget year. The Senate has asked the House to adopt its version of senior services funding with a defined funding mechanism. The House approach to the same situation is variable and discretionary.

If you have an opinion regarding senior services funding, you should contact your legislators on Thursday night, or on Friday morning, to insure the continuing provision of key senior services and funding uninterrupted throughout the coming year.

 

In other words, the only way to protect services for people with disabilities & seniors that are funded by the “senior protection fund” remains HCB 3

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