St. Louis Public Radio News
6:54 am
Fri May 8, 2009

Mo. General Assemby passes budget, stimulus spending

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri has a state budget for Fiscal Year 2010.

The $23 billion spending plan was passed Thursday by both the Missouri House and Senate.

Lawmakers chose to use $785 million in federal stimulus funds to support K-12 schools, colleges and other needs.

Gary Nodler (R, Joplin) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"The way that federal law is written, there really isn't an option to turn it down...my reading of the federal law is that if the stimulus money were not appropriated by the legislature, it could simply be spent by a governor and certified that it was spent in a lawful manner," Nodler said.

The budget does not contain an expansion of health care.

A proposal to add 35,000 working parents to the Medicaid rolls had been stripped out of the Social Services funding bill, as a condition to its passage in the Missouri House.

State Representative Jeff Roorda (D, Barnhart) blasted GOP leaders from the House floor before the vote was taken.

"It's a dirty deal done dirt cheap, and there's no reason in the world that Missourians, or House Democrats, or anyone with any common sense, should trust the Republican leadership in this House to deliver health care policy," Roorda said.

House Republican leaders have promised to take up a separate Senate bill that contains the proposed Medicaid expansion.

Governor Jay Nixon released a statement, congratulating lawmakers for cutting the size of government and for not raising tuition.

But he also expressed disappointment that the health care expansion he sought was not included in the budget.

The 2010 budget also holds $966 million in reserve for future needs.

Lawmakers last night also gave their approval to legislation spending an additional $381 million federal dollars on a variety of capital projects.

Metro, the city's mass transit agency, will receive $12 million to partially restore service cuts made in March. Stimulus dollars are also set aside for the construction of a new Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia, a new statewide radio system for the Highway Patrol, and for construction projects on college campuses that were supposed to be funded with the proceeds from the sale of Missouri's student loan portfolio