April 30, 2020
The Missouri General Assembly reconvened in Jefferson City this week to work on the FY 2021 budget. Yesterday, the House third read and passed the $34 billion budget and sent to the Senate. The current version includes about $146 million in cuts to core agency funding, as well as $450 million in cuts to new spending items originally included in the Governor’s recommended budget. The budget currently includes:
- 10% reduction to higher education institutions
- $220 million cut to K-12 transportation
- Removal of MO Rx program restoration to non-dual eligibles
- $50 million reduction for MoDOT bridge repairs
- Removal of a 2% raise for state employees, and
- $20 million cut for child care funding
The budget includes authority for the Governor to spend up to $2 billion if additional federal dollars are allocated by Congress. Language prohibiting the state from spending money on Medicaid expansion is also in the current budget. Although this language has been included in the appropriations bills for the past few years, it creates a unique challenge with a ballot measure on Medicaid expansion likely to be presented to voters this fall.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to conduct markup tomorrow and Saturday. The constitutional deadline to pass the budget and send to the Governor is Friday, May 8.
The legislature has also worked to move a variety of policy bills this week. The Senate third read and passed SB 569, sponsored by Sen. Andrew Koenig (R), which includes several provisions aimed at protecting sexual assault survivors. The House Committee on General Laws is scheduled to hear SJR 38 later today, which proposes a constitutional amendment that would overturn a redistricting plan and other provisions from Clean Missouri passed by voters in 2018. A Senate substitute for HB 2046, filed by Rep. Derek Grier (R), was adopted earlier this week. This bill modifies provisions relating to occupational licensing reciprocity.
The CARES Act Funding Working Group, led by State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, met for the first time earlier this week. The group discussed the disbursement of CARES Act funds to local governments across the state. This process applies to counties with populations less than 500,000 and the City of St. Louis. The executive of the local government must complete a certification form to receive funding. The group also approved the amounts to be distributed per county. More information can be found at the Treasurer’s website.
On Monday, April 27, Governor Parson announced the first phase of the “Show Me Strong Recovery” plan to reopen the state. The new order takes effect Monday, May 4 and sets guidelines for reopening businesses with social distancing protocols. The statewide order can be supplemented by more stringent local requirements.
Last week, Congress passed an additional $480 billion package to support small businesses, hospitals, and expand testing capacity. This included $310 billion of additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, $75 billion to hospitals, and $25 billion for testing capacity. This bill was the fourth stimulus package passed by Congress as a result of COVID-19. Policymakers continue to discuss future proposals aimed at helping cities and states, though there is still significant disagreement on whether that should happen.
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