Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri House has passed the state budget for fiscal year 2010.
The nearly $23 billion spending plan was completed without the $145 million health care expansion sought by Governor Jay Nixon.
Before the vote, House Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota tried to convince House Budget Chairman Allen Icet that Medicaid expansion may be inevitable.
"Senate Democrats want this," LeVota said. "What I hear, Senate Republicans want this, and the governor wants this. What happens at the end of this game, when you have Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, the governor, and House Democrats, when we go to that conference committee?"
Icet said he's sure there are some Senate Republicans that don't favor expanding Medicaid. But he adds that he's still open to finding common ground.
However he said Missouri is already slated to spend $7 billion on welfare programs next year.
"I'm not just worried about 2010, which I am, I'm also worried about 2011 and 2012 and 2013, because the last thing that I want to do is set this state on a path whereby we hit financial ruin," Icet said.
The budget bills now go to the Missouri Senate.