Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich yesterday presented his budget to lawmakers on Wednesday.
Aside from wanting to close tax loopholes and consolidate state offices as a way to balance that budget, the governor wants to increase school funding by $400 million. Overall, he's proposing the state spend more than $700 million more than it is this year.
Jefferson City, MO – Education officials are trying to figure out what the cuts mean for schools.
The Missouri House Appropriations Education Committee voted Wednesday to do away with state funding for districts to administer standardized exams for the next fiscal year. The committee put that money instead into the state school funding formula.
Under the formula, money is distributed to districts based on several factors, and is supposed to give more state money to poorer ones.
Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Senate passed on Wednesday legislation that would allow the state to put more money into the so-called Career Ladder program. That's the program that allows teachers to up to an additional $5,000 for the extra time they spend tutoring students or working with parents.
About 17,000 Missouri teachers take part in the program. School districts pay part of the tab for the extra pay; the state pays the rest but is limited in just how much it can spend. The measure would remove that restriction.
Springfield, IL – Blagojevich said his plan would close a $1.7 billion deficit without raising income or sales taxes.
His proposals include a series of steps to close corporate tax loopholes. Blagojevich says one such tax break spares companies based in other states.
"They can do business here; they can make money here," Blagojevich said. "But because they're not specifically headquartered in Illinois, in many cases they can avoid paying taxes here. Closing this loophole would save $20 to $35 million."
Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to a proposed constitutional amendment that would keep state road funds from going to other state agencies. Eventually, the change would mean $179 million more each year for roads and bridges. Voters would have final say over the plan. Meanwhile a similar effort by labor and business groups is underway in Illinois.
Jefferson City, MO – Missouri is a leading state for dog breeding, and some breeders want legislation passed in Jefferson City that would make it a felony to sneak into a dog breeding facility and take photos.
Several animal welfare groups oppose the bill because they say it would hamper investigations into substandard animal facilities, sometimes called "puppy mills."
Jefferson City, MO – Missouri may soon have a state dinosaur. Legislation in Jefferson City would bestow the honor on the Hypsibema Missouriensis, a name that loosely translates to "high stride from Missouri."
Fossil records put the beast in Bollinger County in southeast Missouri about 67 million years ago. It was 35 feet long and had a thousand teeth. It was a hadrosaur, and a duck-billed one at that.
Las Vegas, NV – Former Saint Louis University men's basketball coach Charlie Spoonhour has resigned as UNLV coach, citing health reasons.
Spoonhour, 64, issued a statement Tuesday saying the decision has nothing to do with basketball or the UNLV program.
Spoonhour coached at high schools and colleges in Missouri before coming out of retirement to take the UNLV job in March 2001. He leaves the Runnin' Rebels with a 54-31 record. The team is currently 12-9 but has lost three in a row.