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

House and Senate budget conferees meet briefly Thursday, 5-3-2012, at the Mo. Capitol.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
House and Senate budget conferees meet briefly Thursday, 5-3-2012, at the Mo. Capitol.

House andSenatebudget 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 passedlegislation that would fund veterans homes with gaming revenuescurrently 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 approveda similar billwhich 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 Lifeat the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

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

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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