Missouri’s state budget for next year has been passed by the State House.
The $23 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2012 holds current K-12 funding levels in place while cutting funds for higher education by seven percent.
State Representative Margo McNeil (D, Hazelwood) says lawmakers should have been looking for ways to raise revenue.
“This body has shown no interest in securing Internet funds, no interest in saving children from smoking by raising taxes on cigarettes, no interest in fairness in revising the income tax system that has not been adjusted for 80 years,” McNeil said.
But House Budget Chair Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) says they are helping the vulnerable.
“We’ve been able to increase provider rates for in-home (services)," Silvey said. "We’ve been able to increase, through amendments, about $3 million in developmentally disabled programs."
Silvey says their proposed budget for the Department of Health and Senior is $23 million more than what Governor Jay Nixon has recommended.
In addition, House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R, Eureka) says changing laws about teacher tenure and charter schools would improve K-12 student performance more than increased funding.
The state budget bills now go to the Missouri Senate, where they may undergo further cuts.