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Holden Talking Budget at Two St. Louis Stops

(KWMU Staff photo)
Ellie and Mickie McCool listen to discussion of how budget cuts would affect Ellie's treatments. Ellie has Rett Syndrome.

By T. Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, Mo. – Governor Bob Holden brought his budget pitch to St. Louis today. He's been touring Missouri since last week calling for a referendum to let voters decide whether to raise taxes.

To help make his point he's including Missourians who would be affected by deep budget cuts.

Mary Schlenk was once a foster child. She's now in college and says she relied on the state to help her move into adulthood.

Everybody in this room was taught by their parents how to cook and clean and manage their money," Schlenk said. "Foster children don't have that luxury; all they have is transitional living program. And if that money is cut, where are they going to learn those skills?

The budget that's currently in Jefferson City would cut $1.8 million from foster care.

Republicans say they're just honoring the wishes of voters who put the GOP in charge of the General Assembly in part through a pledge to not raise taxes.

Dave McCool, whose daughter Ellie has Rett Syndrome, also told his story. Ellie can't walk or talk and needs constant physical therapy which she gets from the state.

"It's inconceivable to me that the state could ever become so destitute that we would consider eliminating services of this nature," McCool said. "To me, they seem to be untouchable."

The budget that passed the Senate last week includes cuts or eliminated services for more than 2,000 disabled St. Louisans.

Lawmakers have until May 9 to send Holden a budget.


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