KCUR News
10:48 am
Tue January 26, 2010

Senators Review Missouri's Bleak Budget

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri's budget picture remains bleak, as lawmakers begin to consider Governor Jay Nixon's spending plan and come up with their own.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering reminded the Senate Appropriations Committee Monday that revenue collections will continue to lag. But she also said Missouri is expected to receive $300 million in federal dollars that can be used for state expenses.

GOP Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia expressed concern that the Nixon Administration is depending on money that may not come.

"So, in other words, if that money doesn't come through, then the governor's going to have to do about 300 million of additional withholds next year," said Schaefer.

Luebbering said the administration is confident Missouri will get the federal funding.

Among Nixon's proposals is a $121 million cut to the state's Medicaid program. Luebbering told the State Senate Appropriations Committee that eligibility requirements will not be tampered with.

"We could not, anyway, because of federal restrictions. We are not recommending eliminating any services," said Luebbering.

Luebbering said the Medicaid cutbacks will be covered in several ways, including a reduction in provider rates and having the federal Medicare program pick up more of the costs where appropriate.

GOP Senate leaders last year backed a proposal to add 35,000 Missourians to the Medicaid rolls. The expansion would have been funded with an additional tax on hospitals. The measure died in the state House