Missouri House Passes Budget

Money 2

The Missouri House this week passed its proposal to fund the state for the budget year beginning July 1. The $45.6 billion state budget plan includes:

  • $3.6 billion to K-12 public schools

  • $254 million to expand broadband internet access

  • $78 million to increase payments to childcare providers

  • $56 million to pre-K programs

  • $22 million to increase minimum teacher salaries

The budget also continues to fund MCC-supported programs. The current proposal provides over $8.5 million for the Alternatives to Abortion program and $2.5 million for the Healthy Marriage and Fatherhood Initiative program. Left out of the proposal was Gov. Mike Parson’s $859 million request to widen I-70 at chokepoints in St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City. House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage) said he intended to discuss the request in a separate funding bill dealing with large building projects. Also missing was $250 million set aside for future education costs. 

While Republicans and Democrats had differing opinions on specific line items, the majority of the debate on Thursday revolved around a ban on diversity and inclusion initiatives. The amendments, sponsored by Rep. Doug Richey (R-Excelsior Springs), would bar the state from spending tax dollars on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Richey stated his goal was to prevent critical race theory in state programs and protect “the very framework of…western civilization.” However, Gov. Parson’s department heads are worried that the ban would negatively impact state services. Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) pointed out during the debate that nearly every large company that works with or sells to the state has DEI initiatives. 

While the DEI ban was ultimately included in each spending bill, members of the Senate have signaled their intent to remove or amend the provisions. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Lincoln Hough (R-Springfield) indicated that the Senate would likely take the language out, calling it “problematic”. In a statement posted Friday morning, Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) said that while Missouri Republicans believe that “being forced to adhere to positions on diversity, equity, and inclusion as a condition of employment or entry into an educational institution is short-sighted” and contrary to the values diversity advocates wish to advance, the House language “is overly broad” and would result in billions of dollars of cuts to hospitals, colleges, and even the Missouri House itself. 

The Senate will now consider the appropriations bills and members will have the opportunity to offer their amendments to the budget. Any differences between the Senate and House versions must then be worked out in a conference committee. The final budget must be passed by May 5.

March 31, 2023 - 2:33pm

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