House Debates Budget

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House passed the 13 budget appropriation bills Thursday, but not before questioning funding of education.

Lawmakers expressed concern over the way money is being distributed in Missouri.

"I think this is a serious problem," said Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall. "We have not yet figured how to distribute money to schools."

A conference committee developed the budget plan after meeting Wednesday night. In total, it adds $12 million to higher education from what Governor Nixon had originally proposed. It also adds $10 million in school transportation.

Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, sponsors the appropriation bills, and said the legislature did the best job they could.

"While other states across this country are being forced to cut the direct funding to their schools, Mr. Speaker, we have been able to keep ours level," said Rep. Silvey.

The house had to approve the bills before the Senate could do the same.

Governor Nixon released the following statement in response to the legislature's actions:

"I appreciate the legislators on both sides of the aisle who came together to pass the budget by their constitutional deadline. Once again, we've worked together in a bipartisan manner to finish this job on time. Based on the budget passed by the General Assembly and legislation already signed into law, we are projecting a budget gap of at least $30 million. I will analyze this budget in its entirety and make the expenditure restrictions necessary to make it balance. As we move forward, I will continue to make the decisions necessary to keep the state's fiscal house in order."

Governor Nixon can sign or veto each of the individual appropriation bills, instead of providing a blanket decision.