St. Louis Public Radio News
12:44 am
Wed March 24, 2010

Mo. Senate adopts budget-cutting suggestions

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate took a day off from regular business Tuesday to review hundreds of suggestions on how to cut state government costs.

Many of the suggestions came from citizens across the state, sent in via email to a special website set up by the Missouri Senate.

Senator Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says one suggestion is to furlough state workers.

"For either one week or two weeks throughout the year, in order that we could have fewer overall terminations, more people maintaining their health insurance and maintaining their income," Schaefer said.

Senate members spent the day divided into several groups reviewing suggestions that ranged from charging money for state road maps to shrinking the state's inmate population and closing down a prison.

Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) led the group examining education issues.

"(A) voluntary cap on early childhood services...DESE (Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education) is researching that, (and) they are saying that there could be savings of up to $50 million to do something like that," Pearce said.

Government officials also provided suggestions. Governor Nixon's Economic Development chief presented a plan to cut in half the amount of money awarded each year in tax breaks.

Senators will convert the suggestions into bills, and some could be filed before the end of the week.