Lawmakers begin slashing Missouri state budget
By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri House Budget Committee spent nearly four hours late Wednesday amending and voting on bills that make up the state budget.
Committee members only made it through about a third of the budget bills before calling it a night. Republican House Budget Chair Allen Icet said so far they've identified $65 million dollars that can be trimmed from various departments. Lawmakers and Gov. Jay Nixon are trying to close a $500 million gap in the 2011 budget.
"None of these should affect any services or anything," Icet said. "For the most part, it was either lapse, or funding that would be considered excess, so again no programmatic impacts whatsoever."
Icet also said he's hoping to secure full funding for K-through-12 schools, but adds that there's no guarantee yet that it will happen.
Democrat Rachel Storch of St. Louis, who also sits on the budget committee, says full funding for schools may not be possible.
"If we go forward with that level of funding in the bill, the budget will not be balanced," Storch said. "It's simply not fair to schools, to administrators and teachers and students to give them the expectation of funding that we may not have next year."
House budget writers plan to pass the rest of the budget Thursday before leaving town for the weekend.