Budget negotiators meet to hammer out final version of 12 remaining budget bills. At center of table, l-r, are Senate Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, and House Budget Chair Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood.
House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.
Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.
Missouri legislative leaders and Gov. Jay Nixon are disagreeing on what revenue estimates should be used in drawing up the state budget for the coming fiscal year – an argument that could affect the General Assembly’s deliberations when it goes back into session in a few weeks.
But the specifics of the budget dispute aren’t clear because most of the parties involved are commenting only through press releases and offering -- at least so far -- few additional details.
The federal investigator who requested Missouri’s list of conceal carry weapons holders testified under oath Wednesday before a State Senate committee.
Keith Schilb of the Social Security Administration's Inspector General's office told the Senate Appropriations Committee that part of his job is to seek and develop projects that could indicate whether there is enough evidence of fraud to warrant an investigation. He says that’s how the inquiry into Missouri’s conceal carry database began.
After nearly eight hours of debate Monday, the Missouri Senate has passed next year’s state budget.
The roughly $25 billion spending plan still does not include Medicaid expansion, but not for a lack of trying by Democrats. Minority Floor Leader Jolie Justus offered up an amendment that would’ve added $890 million to the Social Services budget, enough to expand Medicaid to around 260,000 Missourians next year.