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Friday, August 1, 2008


Gov. Matt Blunt has signed into law the $22.4 billion state operating budget for the 2009 fiscal year, which began July 1. This year’s budget increases overall spending by nearly $1 billion over the previous year. Blunt signed 12 of the 13 bills that make up the budget on June 27 before signing the last measure on June 30.

The budget includes a $121.3 million increase in direct state aid to local school, which falls in the normal range of increases public education receives each year. It also includes a $43 million increase for public colleges and universities, but the boost fails to restore total funding to these institutions to the FY 2002 level, which was the high-water mark for higher education funding. The budget did not restore the cuts to health care the governor and Republican-controlled General Assembly instituted in 2005.

Initial estimates show the state ended FY 2008 with a $50 million surplus. Revenue collections for the year grew by 3.7 percent, slightly higher than the 3.1 percent growth the budget was based on.

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