Budget

(via Flickr/ChrisEaves.com)

Reporting by Illinois Public Radio’s Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

The cuts Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn made to hospitals probably won’t be the final deal. The administration is using the move in an effort to further its agenda.

Illinois reimburses hospitals when they take on low-income patients who are on Medicaid, and state law sets the rate hospitals are to be paid.

(via Flickr/Richie Diesterheft)

EMS billing will be outsourced, and overtime for firefighters and jail guards has been cut under a budget approved Friday by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

The money the city hopes to save by outsourcing helped aldermen restore funds for bulk trash pick-up, crime prevention and building demolition.

But it was $500,000 that wasn't restored to the Affordable Housing Commission that drew the lone no vote from Alderwoman Kacie Starr Triplett.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The Metro Board of Commissioners announced today that they have passed their operating budget for fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1.

Metro's operating costs will be significantly impacted by higher fuel costs and the "volatility" of metal prices for parts and supplies Metro said in a release.

So, will fares go up? Metro said no:

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Illinois lawmakers face some big decisions in the next two weeks, including how much to cut the budget and whether to overhaul workers' compensation.

The spring legislative session is supposed to end by May 31, but there are still three different budget plans on the table. They're roughly $2 billion apart on how much to spend.

Now lawmakers must decide whether to back one particular proposal or come up with a compromise.

(via Flickr/Richie Diesterheft)

When the Ways and Means committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen meets, anything goes as far as topics.

Today, it was the Department of Public Safety's turn on the hot seat, and pensions, recruiting and jail escapes were on the minds of the committee members. Here's a sampling of their concerns:

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

A respectful crowd of 85 parents and district activists filled seats at Vashon High School Monday night seeking some clarity on the 2011-2012 budget for the St. Louis Public Schools.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Three schools would be closed, and several others would undergo vast transformations, under a $273 million dollar budget proposal  unveiled last night by St. Louis Public Schools superintendent Kelvin Adams.

The proposed spending plan also marks a shift in budgeting philosophy for the district. Money in the past has been distributed to schools based on the number of people that work in the building.

Starting next year, the money would be allocated as a grant to schools based on several factors, including the percentage of special education and low-income students, average daily attendance, and whether the school is a magnet/choice school. Within reason - for example, they'll still have to meet state class size limits - principals will be able to set their own staffing plan.

"The whole challenge for a principal is to have ownership, and have control of the resources," said Adams, a former principal. "If I decide I want to have a larger third grade class - I have a great, dynamic third grade teacher, I'll put that teacher in that classroom," Adams said.  "But I may have a smaller fourth grade class because maybe things aren't working as well in my fourth grade group."

More details are after the break.

A budget that proposes laying off 20 city workers to help close a $30 million gap is in the hands of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The Missouri Senate has passed a funding plan for public schools as it begins debate on a $23 billion proposed budget.

  • A Senate budget bill approved Wednesday would provide schools $3 billion in basic aid next year - the same amount as this year but an estimated $179 million less than called for under the school funding formula.

Legislators and Gov. Jay Nixon say the state cannot afford to pay schools the full amount they are due.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A Missouri House committee has dealt a setback to Gov. Jay Nixon's quest for $1 billion in federal high-speed rail money.

The House Budget Committee rejected an attempt Wednesday to insert the rail money into a state budget bill.

That comes just two weeks after Nixon held a news conference to announce Missouri was applying for $1 billion of the $2.4 billion of federal rail money that Florida decided not to use.

(Adam Allington/St. Louis Public Radio)

Will be updated as more information becomes available

Firefighters in the city of St. Louis got some better news today.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that the department will receive $3.2 million federal funds over the next two years in the form of a SAFER grant. (That stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.)

(via Flickr/puroticorico)

Updated March 30th

A spokesman for Comptroller Darlene Green says the Board of Estimate and Apportionment can only act on layoffs proposed by the St. Louis Fire Department. The meeting last week was the first time the Board had a proposal to consider, said John Farrell, even though the department's overspending had been evident for nine months.

Our earlier story:

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Updated 4:10 p.m. March 17, 2011 with Gov. Quinn's comments.

Gov. Pat Quinn says he opposes a package of budget cuts proposed by Illinois Senate Republicans.

The Chicago Democrat said Thursday the "foolhardy" cuts would kills jobs and weaken the economy just as Illinois recovers from a recession.

The Republican plan includes cuts to education, health care and local government. They estimate the savings at $6.7 billion.

The two biggest pieces are the most difficult.

The city's Board of Police Commissioners today approved changes to the department's budget for the 2012 fiscal year that will prevent the loss, through attrition, of 65 officers.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
  • The Missouri House took only an hour to debate and pass the state's budget for next year. The $23 billion spending plan holds K-through-12 spending in place while cutting higher education funding by seven percent. The full Missouri House is scheduled to take up the state budget the week of March 28th, right after lawmakers return from spring break.
  •  A task force focused on rural Missouri crime has recovered more than $2.5 million worth of stolen property in the past year and a half.

Last month, the news about the 2012 budget for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department wasn't good.

The department was looking at $2.5 million in cuts it couldn't make up by doing things like freezing salaries, cutting scholarships, and furloughing civilian employees.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Sen. Claire McCaskill says two new federal reports out about health care at the John Cochran veteran's hospital in St. Louis are only part of the picture she wants to get on that facility.

The inspector general on Monday released reports on problems with sterilization at the hospital's dental clinic, and on complaints from employees that they did not have the equipment they needed to do their jobs.

Those reports are important because they outline existing problems, McCaskill says, but the specifics on dealing with those problems have to come from veterans. And that's where her new customer satisfaction survey comes in.

"I really want to see this through the eyes of veterans. I want to know how they feel on an individual basis about the services they’re receiving, and I think that's going to be a very good measure of the work we have to do, she says."

(Office of Chris Kelly)

The amount Missouri hospitals charge the state for examinations to collect evidence from sexual assault victims varies widely between hospitals.

Lawmakers say the state should set a cap on the rates it pays.

Data from the Department of Public Safety shows the state paid $35.40 for a lab test at a Kansas City hospital and more than $1,500 for an examination at a Harrisonville hospital. The state paid an average of about $784 per examination last year.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill says Congress needs to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Speaking at her St. Louis office on Sunday, the Democratic Senator unveiled a package of reforms she says will help bring transparency and accountability to Congress.

McCaskill proposed creating an independent watchdog office to oversee Senate operations and take complaints from the public.

(via Flickr/Cast a Line)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

School officials say Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's decision to slash school transportation spending could hurt instruction, even though he wants to increase the amount the state spends per pupil.

The budget Quinn unveiled in Springfield yesterday cuts $95 million from the state school busing fund.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn gave his annual state budget address today in Springfield.

Join us tonight at 7 p.m.  for a broadcast the full address on 90.7 FM or online here.

You can also follow along and read the full text of the Governor's address here.

So far, here are some reactions to Quinn's budget:

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is calling President Obama's budget a starting point to begin the conversation between Democrats and Republicans.

The Democratic senator says she is anxious to see the Republicans' budget plan in the House. But McCaskill is also criticizing the GOP for focusing on the discretionary domestic budget, which, she says, is only 18 percent of the budget.

There’s been a temporary delay in a new skirmish between the city and its fire department.

Ald. Matt Villa has held a bill that aims to change the way certain benefits for firefighters are funded.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Read Gov. Jay Nixon's proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 closely, and you'll see a set of numbers that can give you pause.

Governor Jay Nixon and the chairmen of the state House and Senate appropriations committee have come to an agreement on the amount of money available for the budget year that starts in June 2011 (FY 2012).

The projected revenue estimate is made every December, and is the figure the governor and lawmakers use to craft budget proposals.

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