Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have passed that chamber’s version of the state budget for next year.
The Senate plan is about $86 million smaller than the version passed by the House last month. Cuts include $13 million from child care provider grants, $7 million from other childcare services, and $1 million from meals at state prisons. Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) acknowledges that many of the cuts target Medicaid.
“We’re gonna add language that everyone in that program has to go through Medicaid eligibility, so that we determine who is Medicaid eligible and who’s not…that’s the first threshold," Schaefer said. "The second is we’re gonna put in language to establish a premium.”
Budget hearings have begun in the Missouri Senate, and already there are notable differences with the House in where that chamber wants to make cuts.
While the House budget would give state workers earning less than $70,000 per year a two percent raise, the Senate version would limit those raises to workers making less than $45,000 per year. Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee.
This one would raise it to 75 percent of the current national average – in other words, from 17 cents per pack to $1.09-1/2 cents per pack. Missouri’s tax per pack would also rise or fall as the national average changes, and it would require a referendum by Missouri voters to take effect. The bill was filed by State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D, St. Louis), who spoke in favor of raising the cigarette tax during budget debates on Thursday.
The campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, says he does not intend to follow Gov. Nixon's recommendation of a 12.5 percent cut to higher education institutions in the state.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said Wednesday he does not intend to follow Nixon's recommendation. The Columbia Republican says the cut would be a huge blow to higher education.