Missouri House Passes State Budget
This week the Missouri House passed their version of the state’s $32 billion spending plan for fiscal year 2022, which included 13 budget bills, plus a supplemental budget bill for the current year. The budget includes $3.6 billion for public schools under the foundation formula, increases basic support for colleges and universities to fiscal year 2020 appropriation levels, a two percent pay raise for state employees, plus additional money for the Department of Corrections to aid in the recruitment of correction officers. The budget will also put funds toward implementing a law to stop automatically charging 17-years olds as adults.
The House version of the budget is $2.2 billion below the request made by Governor Mike Parson in January. The biggest difference is the $1.9 billion he requested for expanded Medicaid eligibility. Voters approved expanding Medicaid eligibility in a constitutional amendment on last August’s ballot, with 53% in favor. Governor Parson opposed the ballot measure, but said he would honor the result, and included money for it in his budget request. However, the Republican majority in the House took a different stance. After stripping the budget of any Medicaid expansion money in the House Budget Committee last week, they rejected several attempts by Democrats to restore the money this week during House debate. Republicans, who long have opposed expansion, have repeatedly stated they are not obligated to appropriate money for expansion. Democrats said expansion would be an economic boon to the healthcare industry while providing life-saving care for the working poor. Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion would come with $1.4 billion in federal funds. The most recent federal aid bill also would give the state $1.1 billion specifically for the expansion.
The House budget bills now move to the Senate, where Senators could reintroduce money for Medicaid expansion either in committee or on the Senate floor.