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Education and health care likely to remain major expenses in MO budget

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Governor Matt Blunt hasn't yet submitted his spending plan for the state, but House Budget Chairman Alan Icet says you can expect K-12 schools to have the largest price tag.

"2009 will be the third year of the phase in, and that can be anywhere from $125 million to $150 million dollars," said Icet.

That would be in addition to the $2.8 billion dollars in this year's budget.

Icet also says an additional $45 million may be allocated to higher education, and an extra $100 million for Missouri HealthNet, which will replace the state's Medicaid system next year.

Meanwhile, Icet hopes to save money by cutting back on contributions to federal matching programs, some of which are being de-funded by Congress.

"I am relunctant to continue to make up shortfalls in federal programs, because all that does is put the state on the hook," said Icet. "As the feds back out, the state gets pulled in to all these federal programs that are being de-funded."

The exact figures will be unveiled during the governor's State of the State address in January.

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