MISSOURI − State lawmakers passed a more than $48 billion budget Friday afternoon ahead of the deadline. 

The budget package earned largely bipartisan support.

Items on the budget included increasing minimum teacher and Capitol police pay; funding for Medicaid expansion, public colleges/universities and school transportation; and tax rebates, as well as in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities.

Planned Parenthood will not be included under the Medicaid expansion.

Increasing minimum teacher pay to $38,000 was praised by Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis). The state will pay 70% of those costs, if local school districts agree pay the other 30%.

"I mean, that might be the biggest part of the budget this year," he said.

Merideth explained that while the plan is not perfect, it is a good start.

"You've heard us criticize lots of things about it, but it's better than not doing anything," he said. "Making sure that we have no teachers making less than $30,000 a year is good.”

Merideth mentioned that it is up to locals to come up with a good match for the minimum salary.

During House debate concerning the tax rebate bill, discussion was heated. HB 2090 was modified to include to HB 3020, the final budget item which allocates $2.9 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

House Democrats argued that the tax rebate bill did not go toward those who needed it, specifically low-income Missourians.

Under the current legislation, Missourians who earn a salary of up to $150,000 would receive $500, while couples who earn up to $300,000 of combined income would receive $1,000.

The version of the bill that reached the House chambers modified the total money allocated for the bill to $500 million. The previous version allocated $1 billion.

House Republicans pushed back on the Democrats' arguments, saying that those who start a successful business should be allowed to receive their tax rebates.

"Finally we have decided that state government has more money than it needs," Rep. J Eggleston (R-Maysville) said. "What do we do with it? We give it back to the people that earned it and paid it in to begin with."

The budget now rests on Gov. Mike Parson’s desk for signing.

To report an error or typo, email news@komu.com.

KOMU 8 Digital Producer & Reporter

KOMU 8 Digital Producer & Reporter. I'm a current senior at the University of Missouri, studying Convergence Journalism - Emerging Media. Reach me at awf3cq@umsystem.edu, or on Twitter @byalexfulton.

Reporter/Anchor

Michael Emami is a reporter/anchor for KOMU 8 News in Columbia, Missouri. He can be reached by email at michaelemami18@gmail.com or through Twitter @EmamiKOMU.

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