MO Senate Works Late; Passes 2 of 12 Budget Bills
Jefferson City, MO – Missouri state Senators worked until just past midnight Wednesday morning on the state's budget. They passed just two of the 12 bills that make up the state's budget.
But much of Tuesday's debate was over how to spend a relatively small amount of new money - $8 million - the state will get from lottery proceeds. Several Democrats spent hours offering, withdrawing and re-offering various amendments on how to spend that money.
The two budget bills that did pass will fund public debt and the state's schools. The budget plan has just over $2 billion in basic aid for public schools. That's a nearly $100 million increase and puts the numbers closed to what Governor Bob Holden first recommended.
Overall, the entire $18.8 billion budget would spend as much as Governor Holden recommends, but without his proposed tax increases. Senate budget-writers say they can do that because the state is getting more tax money than first predicted.
The Senate budget assumes that a growing economy, and several revenue-generating legislative proposals, will make tax increases unnecessary.
The Senate proposal is $186 million dollars larger than the version passed earlier this month by the House. The gap would have to be reconciled by House and Senate negotiators when the budget goes to what's called a "conference committee."