Missouri Budget

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JEFFERSON CITY -Missouri's slimmed-down budget is one step closer to passage after the House Budget Committee passed it Tuesday.

Lawmakers offered only 18 amendments to the $23.2 billion budget, and the process took only an hour. One year ago, it took three days to get through about 300 amendments.

"There simply is no more money," Rep. Sara Lampe (D-Springfield),said, talking about why there were so few amendments.

The biggest change came when the committee voted to boost college scholarship funding by $42 million. That increase, especially to need-based Access Missouri money, goes against the Gov. Jay Nixon's recommendation to cut funding for that scholarship program.

Lawmakers passed the budget without changing the governor's proposed 7 percent cut for Missouri's public colleges and universities, including the University of Missouri. Those cuts pushed UM System leaders to seek -- and receive -- a state waiver to increase tuition by 5.5 percent for next school year.

The budget now moves to the full House. Leaders said they'll likely take up the bills in two weeks, when lawmakers return from legislative spring break.