© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mo. budget being blocked by group of fiscally conservative Senators

The Missouri Senate Chamber
File |Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio
iPad photo of Mo. Senate chamber while the body was officially at-ease Monday night, 4-23-2012. A group of fiscally conservative Republicans began blocking the state's supplemental budget bill late Monday afternoon.

The Missouri Senateconvened Monday afternoon preparing to debate next year's state budget, and almost immediatelySenator Jason Crowelllaunched a filibuster.

The Republican from Cape Girardeau had promised weeks ago that he would block the budget over its use of one-time funds to fill holes in next year’s spending plan.  Gradually throughout the evening, other fiscally conservative Senators joined in, includingJim Lembke(R, Lemay), Rob Schaaf(R, St. Joseph), and Luann Ridgeway (R, Smithville).

Early on, Crowell spent part of the filibuster lampooning the Missouri Housefor cutting pensions for the blind.

“Now I had no idea that blind people were the problem, that that was why we were going broke as a state," Crowell said.  "The blind people are getting cut, but there’s not one tax credit that’s getting reduced…in fact, they’re growing at 19 percent.”

The actual bill being blocked isHB2014, also known as the supplemental budget, which would made adjustments to the state budget that’s currently in effect.  The Senate chose to take that bill up before debating the 13 bills that make up next year’s spending plan.

Shortly after 8:00 p.m., Senate leaders asked that the body stand at ease so they could negotiate with filibuster leaders.  Just before midnight, Senate Budget Chairman Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) asked that the bill be laid aside.  The Senate then adjourned for the night.

Majority Floor Leader Tom Dempsey (R, St. Charles) told reporters that the two sides are close to an agreement that would end the filibuster and allow the budget to move forward.  

“At the end of the day, we’re all trying to proceed in a way where we deal with the budget with the understanding that we’re using one-time money," Dempsey said.  "We need to make some structural changes so that we don’t have this annual exercise of cutting $500 million from the budget.” 

The Senate is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday morning at 10:00.

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