Missouri Budget

David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation has long been the envy of the nation, as far as conservation departments go.

Since the mid-1970s, it has been solely funded by a ⅛ cent conservation sales tax. Because it does not receive any general revenue from the government, it naturally operates without much oversight.

Until now, the model hasn’t presented much of a problem. In fact, Missouri's has been touted as one of the best conservation departments in the country.

But one Missouri representative thinks the current model is flawed. Rep. Craig Redmon, the Republican Chair of the Conservation Appropriation Committee, thinks the current funding mechanism is vulnerable.

Redmon wrote a bill calling for the repeal of the ⅛ cent conservation sales tax — a bill he doesn't actually support.

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Missouri’s budget for the next fiscal year has been passed by the State House.  While Medicaid expansion has dominated most of the debate, spending hikes were approved in other areas.

The nearly $25 billion spending plan adds an extra $65 million for K-12 schools, although the spending hike still falls short of fully funding the state’s public school formula. 

Republican Mike Lair of Livingston County chairs the Appropriations committee on Education.

Marshall Griffin / St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has given first-round approval to the state budget for Fiscal Year 2014, while House Republicans beat back three attempts to expand Medicaid.

The first attempt was made Tuesday morning, in the form of a motion to send House Bill 1 back to committee and add $940 million to it for Medicaid needs.  The motion was made by State Representative Jeff Roorda (D, Barnhart).

The Missouri House will begin debate Tuesday on the 13 bills that make up next year’s state budget. 

The three bills that encompass the state’s Medicaid program don’t include Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed expansion, although House Democrats may try to offer amendments to change that. 

Budget chairman Rick Stream of St. Louis County says the state should have more of a say in how Medicaid dollars are handled.

Courtesy of governor.mo.gov

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says his budget for next year will expand funding for education for students of all ages.

The Missouri House rejected most of the budget bills passed last week by the Senate.  The move was part of the normal procedure for preparing for final budget negotiations. 

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is urging lawmakers to fund veterans’ homes, pensions for the blind and other specific needs in the still-unfinished state budget. 

UMKC.edu

The bad news eased a bit for Missouri higher education this afternoon. Governor Nixon's office released a statement saying $40 million of the recommended funding cuts for next year will be restored to his budget.

Higher education is on the chopping block once again in Jefferson City.

jimmywayne / Flickr

As Missouri lawmakers return to session this week, they’ll face a multitude of tasks, but front and center will be the state’s budget.  Missouri faces a challenging year, with a major source of revenue running out and an economy that’s still struggling to recover from the recession.