The House Budget Committee has quickly wrapped up work on Missouri’s state budget for Fiscal Year 2012.
The process of voting 13 budget bills out of committee is often raucous and can take several days to do. This year, it only took an hour, with each budget bill passing overwhelmingly.
State Representative Sara Lampe of Springfield, the committee’s ranking Democrat, says one reason for that is the lack of money to fight over.
“If people were looking for amendments that would add new programs or new decision items or increase any one of the line items significantly, the money’s just not there," Lampe said. "We’re down to stealing from Peter to pay Paul.”
The $23.2 billion spending plan holds K-12 spending in place while cutting higher education funding by seven percent.
State Representative Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) chairs the House Budget Committee. He says it would also cut funding for school buses next year.
“The governor’s recommendation this year was $55 million less than it was last year, because...anything that we increase, we have to correspond with a decrease to pay for it," Silvey said. "There just really wasn’t anywhere to go where we could find $55 million to cut from something else to put back into school buses.”
The full Missouri House is scheduled to take up the state budget the week of March 28th, right after lawmakers return from spring break.