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Missouri House passes state budget

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri House has passed Governor Matt Blunt's $23 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2009.

It contains over $9 billion for Social Services, and over $5 billion for the state's K-12 schools.

State Representative Brian Baker (R, Belton) says the governor's funding formula for K-12 schools is working.

"We have a record number of students taking the ACT Test...no one has stood up and said, 'we are doing better with our 4th grade Math scores'...nationally, recognized, for our efforts and improvements!" Baker said.

But Assistant Minority Floor Leader J.C. Kuessner (D, Eminence) says the G.O.P. is under-funding public schools.

"House Bill 2002 puts the smallest percentage of money out of the budget into public education than the past administration...this is going to cause local school districts to have to raise their taxes," Kuessner said.

Kuessner then yelled his closing statement:

"House Bill (2002) is a job-killing, tax-increasing bill AND I ASK THIS BODY TO VOTE AGAINST IT!"

Kuessner's delivery actually brought a few chuckles to House members before they took their final vote on the K-12 portion of the state budget.

It passed 90 to 66 on a largely party line vote.

The rest of the budget bills passed as well, and are on their way to the Missouri Senate.

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