By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri General Assembly has passed the state budget and sent it to Governor Jay Nixon eight days before the legally-mandated deadline.
Despite the quick work that led to the budget getting passed more than a week early, Senate Budget Chair Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says deciding what needed to be cut was difficult.
"Sometimes when you went through the budget and you looked at some of the things that were going to have to be reduced, it really made me cringe...I'm talking about Parents as Teachers, which is a program that I've always been supportive of," Mayer said.
In all, around $484 million was cut from next year's spending plan, just shy of the $500 million Governor Jay Nixon has been calling for. Budget Director Linda Luebbering says it's possible that the governor may be forced to withhold even more money after the new fiscal year starts in July.
"A little bit over a hundred million dollars worth of the savings in the budget needs legislative support, and so as the legislature works over their final two weeks, getting that legislation through will be critical as to whether or not the budget is in balance," Luebbering said.
Luebbering adds that they don't know yet how state revenues will perform this year. If they continue to decline, she says more cuts will be needed to keep the budget in balance.
Governor Nixon has until June 30th to sign the 13 budget bills into law.