Missouri lawmakers grow budget by $700M, mainly for Medicaid

4 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, March 29 2018 Mar 29, 2018 Thursday, March 29, 2018 11:11:00 AM CDT March 29, 2018 in News

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have approved an additional $700 million of spending this year, primarily to fund higher-than-expected costs in the Medicaid health care program for low-income residents.

The Senate gave final approval Thursday to the supplemental budget bill, sending it to Gov. Eric Greitens. The House approved it earlier this month.

The bill adds nearly $705 million of spending authority to the roughly $27.7 billion budget for the 2018 fiscal year that runs through June.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Brown says Medicaid costs account for about $622 million of that increase.

The legislation includes a mixture of federal, state and other funding sources. State general revenues account for $162 million of the additional spending, which is more than lawmakers had originally expected to spend on a mid-year budget adjustment.

Missouri House lawmakers have approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year with more money for early education and flat funding for public colleges and universities.

But the budget passed by lawmakers Thursday doesn't restore cuts to services for seniors and people with disabilities.

Republican lawmakers touted another $48 million for early education programs, along with a deal to keep public higher education funding level if most universities agree not to raise tuition more than 1 percent.

They got pushback from members of the Democratic minority, who called for more money for in-home and nursing care for seniors and people with disabilities.

Funding for those services was cut this year, and Republican legislative leaders had pledged a solution. But lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement.

The budget now heads to the Senate.

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