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Missouri's next budget expected to be $1 billion less than current one

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By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Senate budget writers say that the state of Missouri will likely have one billion dollars less to work with than it did prior to the 2009 legislative session.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is taking testimony this week from various people and agencies who want at least the same amount of funding for the next fiscal year, if not more.

Michelle Podensky spoke in support of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which provides job programs for the disabled.

"The key to living independently is a job, and without employment it is very difficult for people with disabilities to maintain independence...if they can't give back to communities, they can't be taxpayers," Podensky said.

But committee member and State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) believes revenues will continue to trend downward.

"Quite honestly, the next couple of years are going to be rough...I think one thing we have to remember in state government (is) we cannot spend more than we take in, so that gives you two choices: Either raise taxes, or you live within your budget...in many case(s), you have to cut or freeze budgets," Pearce said.

The 2010 legislative session begins January 6th.

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