Impasse over Mo. budget with one week left to pass it | St. Louis Public Radio

Impasse over Mo. budget with one week left to pass it

May 4, 2012

House and Senate budget negotiators remain at an impasse on what’s become the main barrier to reaching an agreement:  finding a way to fund veterans’ homes.

The House this week passed legislation that would fund veterans homes with gaming revenues currently designated for early childhood programs, and replace it with money from a tobacco settlement.  The Senate has so far refused to take up the measure.  House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) accuses Senate President Pro-tem Rob Mayer (R, Dexter) of playing games.

“It’s disappointing, it’s, you know, pick your adjective," Silvey told reporters Thursday after the House adjourned for the week.  "Some come to mind that I would probably not want my daughter to read in the paper.”

Mayer, meanwhile, has criticized both Silvey and Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) for meeting behind closed doors.

"I think it's unfortunate that we've not had public conference committee hearings at this point, but I'm confident that we will work through the issues and that we'll have a budget for the state of Missouri by May 11th," Mayer said.

A Senate committee has approved a similar bill which would also shift casino fees to veterans home, but it also contains a provision to cut off all state funding to the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Budget conferees are set to meet again on Monday.  The Missouri General Assembly has to pass next year's state budget by Friday, May 11th, one week before the end of the 2012 regular session.