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Friday, May 11, 2007


The General Assembly on May 10 finished work on the $21.49 billion state operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The budget marks a 3.3 percent increase from the current fiscal year. The 13 appropriations bills that make up the state budget now await the governor’s signature to become law.

The spending plan’s boost in state funding for local school districts is comparable to what the legislature grants every year but does not represent an atypical infusion of new money. It increases funding for public colleges and universities by about 4 percent – a third of the 12 percent increase the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education said was needed and that House Democrats endorsed.

The budget does not restore the Medicaid cuts of two years ago that resulted in more than 180,000 Missourians losing their health care coverage. The restoration would have cost the state $155.8 million in general revenue but allowed it to leverage an additional $265.3 million in federal Medicaid funds that instead will go to other states. The Republican-controlled General Assembly left $200 million in general revenue unspent.

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