Missouri budget

(Associated Press Data/compiled by Kelsey Proud/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri General Assembly has passed and sent next year’s state budget to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

The $24 billion spending plan passed both chambers with little difficulty, but not without some complaints.  State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) was not happy with language restoring a health care program for blind Missourians.  He says he’ll file a constitutional objection.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

With a Friday deadline looming, Missouri lawmakers finally reached a compromise on putting the final touches on the state budget.

The agreement addresses veterans’ homes, university funding and other sticking points:  First, budget negotiators agreed to spread an additional $3 million among several universities, including Southeast Missouri State, and dropped a proposal to give $2 million to that school alone.  Also, lawmakers will have to craft a Higher Education funding formula by the end of next year, which would be implemented in July 2014.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House and Senate are still at an impasse over next year’s state budget.

The Senate has made no progress on persuading Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) to stop blocking every bill in the Senate, including one to fund veterans’ homes.  He says he has no objections to transferring gaming revenues from early childhood programs to nursing homes for military vets, but he won’t allow it or any other bill to advance unless the House strips more than $2 million in extra funding from Southeast Missouri State University.  President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) says other Senators have sided with Crowell on the issue.

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Mo. House, Senate push for elimination of Sue Shear Institute

The Missouri House has approved legislation that would strip state funding from an institute that trains women for careers in politics.

The Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life is located at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and bills itself non-partisan. Its detractors, however, argue the Institute caters to Democrats - a characterization that Springfield Democrat Sara Lampe strongly disputes.

(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

The Missouri Senate has been shut down by one Senator over which version of legislation for veterans’ homes will be adopted.

Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) and several allies tied up the Senate for nearly 12 hours Monday night and are provoking a showdown with Senate leaders.  In addition to using a filibuster to block the veterans’ homes bill, Crowell is using several motions to block all bills from being debated.

“We have some issues that need to be resolved in the Senate before we move forward, and they’re gonna be resolved one way or the other," Crowell said.  "I will continue to make this series of motions on anything else that we do.”

House and Senate budget negotiators resumed talks today, but still have not resolved differences over how to fund veterans homes and health care for the blind.

They agreed on numerous budget items that have garnered little to no controversy.  The House won out on its proposed pay raise for state workers – those earning under $70,000 a year would get a 2 percent raise starting in July.  Kirk Schaefer (R, Columbia), the Senate’s chief negotiator, says he didn’t mind accepting the House’s position on pay raises.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

House and Senate budget negotiators remain at an impasse on what’s become the main barrier to reaching an agreement:  finding a way to fund veterans’ homes.

The House this week passed legislation that would fund veterans homes with gaming revenues currently designated for early childhood programs, and replace it with money from a tobacco settlement.  The Senate has so far refused to take up the measure.  House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) accuses Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) of playing games.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Negotiators working on a final version of Missouri's budget are taking a wait-and-see approach dependent on a new funding plan for veterans' nursing homes.

A conference committee of House and Senate members convened briefly Thursday, but only to say they are not going to meet further until the Senate takes action on the veterans' legislation.

The House passed a bill Wednesday that would provide a dedicated funding stream for Missouri's financially strapped veterans' homes.

(via Flickr/401K)

For the first time this fiscal year, Missouri's state revenues are growing above the rate needed to balance the budget.

The state Office of Administration released figures on Wednesday that show Missouri's net revenues were up 3.1 percent through April - or the first 10 months of the fiscal year. The 2012 budget is based on 2.7 percent growth.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate took the next step Tuesday toward beginning final negotiations with the House on next year’s state budget.  But Senate members struggled with whether to bind themselves to various positions they support.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House has rejected 12 of the 13 budget bills passed last week by the State Senate.

The move was part of the normal procedure for preparing for final budget negotiations.  However, some House members took the opportunity to criticize the Senate for cutting more than $3 million from the state’s tourism budget.  State Rep. Don Ruzicka (R, Mount Vernon) urged House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) to try to get the cut restored.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

With three weeks left in the legislative session, Governor Jay Nixon (D) is urging lawmakers to fund veterans’ homes, pensions for the blind and other specific needs in the still-unfinished state budget.

Nixon told reporters today that nursing homes for military veterans are woefully underfunded in next year’s $24 billion spending plan, and that a separate bill needs to be passed to insure a dedicated funding source for the homes.

“Missouri’s veterans’ home(s) provide critical services for thousands of men and women who have served our country with honor and bravery," Nixon said.  "Let me be clear, that bill must get to my desk without delay.”

(Tim Bommel/Mo. House communications)

The budget chairman for the Missouri House is not happy with the Senate’s decision early Wednesday morning to restore $28 million for blind pensions.

An amendment by State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) reversed the cut that the House wanted to use for Higher Education.  State Rep. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) authored the original cut, stating that the pension program is for blind residents who have too much money to be on Medicaid.  He calls the Senate’s actions puzzling.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Senate passed a $24 billion state budget early this morning, following several hours of debate and closed-door negotiations.

The Senate spending plan for FY2013 directly challenges the Missouri House's position on blind pensions.  By a narrow margin, Senators restored $28 million in state funding cut by the House last month, while leaving in $18 million in federal Medicaid dollars.  Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) says they now have more room to maneuver when negotiations with the House begin on the final version of the budget.

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have crafted a proposal designed to preserve funding for blind pensions.

The plan announced by Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) would use $18 million in federal Medicaid money to create a new blind pension health care fund.

“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.”

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Good morning! Here are a couple of the stories we've followed this morning to get you started:

Relatives of teen killed by police want answers

Relatives of a 15-year-old boy shot and killed by St. Louis County police are disputing police claims that the teen had a gun when he was shot. The shooting happened Tuesday night in the Glasgow Village area of north St. Louis County.

(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

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.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says his administration has identified some additional federal money that could help avoid cuts to a program that provides health benefits to the blind.

Nixon's administration said Wednesday that most of the additional $18 million of federal Medicaid money could be used to restore the blind benefit cuts included in a budget plan passed by the House.

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The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.

The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools.  Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.

(Harrison Sweazea/Mo. Senate)

One day after the Missouri House gave first-round approval to the state budget, a state Senator is threatening to derail the entire budget process.

Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) is objecting to the use of one-time sources of money to plug holes in the FY2013 budget.  He singled out both Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and House GOP leaders for plans to divert $40 million from a federal mortgage settlement to the state’s Higher Education budget.


Missouri’s state budget for next year has received first-round approval by the State House. 

As promised, Republican leaders defunded a program that aids blind Missourians and used the money to erase Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed cuts to Higher Education. 

House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey told the chamber he’s no longer willing to cut money from Missouri’s universities and community colleges:

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri House is debating all 13 bills this afternoon that make up the state’s proposed budget for next year.

Lawmakers are offering up several amendments to the budget – one in particular would have shifted $150,000 from the state’s biodiesel fund to Alzheimer’s patients.  It was sponsored by State Rep. Tracy McCreery (I, Olivette).

Joseph Leahy, SLPR news

East St. Louis lays off more employees

A tight budget has forced East St. Louis to lay off seven more employees, leaving the city's police officers without a support staff.  

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the latest layoffs include Police Chief Michael Floore's secretary, the department's director of community programs and a records room employee responsible for logging all of the city's tows.

The city also cut employees in the mayor's office, the city clerk's office and the city treasurer's office.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Budget writers in the Missouri House have approved their version of the 13 bills that make up the state’s budget for next year.

Committee members eliminated $28 million for a program that aids the blind, but then put $6 million back into it from another source.  Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) chairs the Budget Committee.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

House budget writers finish reviews of Missouri's proposed spending plan for next year

Members of the budget committee now have until 4 p.m today to offer amendments, which will be debated and voted on Wednesday.   

Republican Ryan Silvey of Kansas City chairs the House Budget Committee:

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $5 million withheld from this year’s K-12 and Higher Education budgets.

The Nixon Administration says $3 million of the withheld funding will help keep school buses on the road, while just over $2 million will go toward universities and community colleges.  Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the move was made because state lottery sales have been better than expected.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

In the wake of a possible approximately 12.5 percent cut in higher education funding for fiscal year 2013, and ongoing discussion of tuition hikes and job cuts across the University of Missouri system in response, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced an a

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Mo. revenues behind amount needed for budget

Missouri's revenues continue to be behind what is needed to balance the budget. January's figures show that net state revenues grew two percent over the same month last year.

The fiscal year began in July. For the first seven months of the 2012 fiscal year, Missouri's general revenues were up 1.3 percent. That is almost half the 2.7 percent growth rate that the governor's budget office says is needed to meet the budget.

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Missouri is planning to refinance more than $500 million of debt as part of Gov. Jay Nixon's plan to balance the state budget.

Nixon's budget proposal for the next fiscal year assumes the state will save $41 million from the debt restructuring.

The governor's budget office says the state already has refinanced $20 million of principal from the debt used to build Mizzou Arena at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is warning Missouri’s college administrators not to raise tuition to make up the difference in budget cuts he announced this week during his annual State of the State Address.

The governor wants to cut the state’s Higher Education budget by nearly $106 million, or 12.5 percent.  During his address Tuesday he indicated that he wants universities to leave tuition levels where they are.