Lawmakers Decide How to Spend Tax Dollars

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JEFFERSON CITY  - Missouri's basic aid for public schools will remain flat but decline for colleges under a budget plan given final approval by lawmakers. The $23 billion operating budget passed Thursday also would continue subsidizing the prescription drug costs of seniors and the disabled -- though that still depends on passage of a separate bill allowing the program to continue past Aug. 28.

Budget negotiators opted against a Senate plan to cut child-care subsidies for thousands of low-income parents while extending them for several hundred others. The budget for the 2012 fiscal year now goes to Gov. Jay Nixon, who can veto or reduce the spending but cannot add to it. The budget includes wording that would bar Nixon from billing most state agencies for his travel and staff costs.

The senate debates intensified as voting went on. Senators Lembke, Kraus, Schaaf and Cromwell vote no on a handful of the budget bills.