MO Statehouse
4:29 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Cuts to public colleges reversed, aid for blind sharply trimmed in panel-approved spending plan

Budget writers in the Missouri House have approved their version of the 13 bills that make up the state’s budget for next year.

Committee members eliminated $28 million for a program that aids the blind, but then put $6 million back into it from another source.  Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) chairs the Budget Committee.

“Again, the money is for people who have too much money to be on Medicaid," Silvey said.  "There was some concern about providing a transitional benefit for those that maybe just barely have too much money, but we don’t know who those are right now because we don’t means-test them…so we thought if we put some money aside for a cushion that the department could then develop some sort of means-test program.”

That $6 million would benefit about 600 blind Missourians, as compared to around 2,800 currently receiving aid.

House budget writers also restored Governor Nixon’s proposed cut to higher education, which would maintain current funding levels.  In January, Nixon proposed a $106 million funding cut for higher education. He later proposed to reduce that by $40 million by using money from the national settlement with mortgage lenders.

The full House will take up the state budget after they return from their legislative spring break, which begins Friday.