Senate passes budget for Missouri Department of Social Services

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate passed a more than $8 billion budget Wednesday for spending on Missouri programs for seniors, people with mental illnesses and foster children.

The bill needed 18 votes to pass and the initial vote was 17-16. After a motion to reconsider, the Senate passed the bill with an 18-15 vote.

The bill will add around 200,000 Missourians to a managed care system that has a private company oversee health benefits for consumers. 

Tim Decker, the director of Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services, said the budget is less than the department asked for. Decker said the budget the Senate passed is around 6 percent less than the department estimated it would need.

Decker also said that the Children's Division has seen a 5 percent increase in the number of children that it serves.

"When you add a 6 percent cut on top of 5 percent growth, it doesn't add up," Decker said.

All of the legislation for next year's budgets must return to the House before going to Gov. Jay Nixon for approval.

Lawmakers must approve the budget bills by May 8.