Senate Wraps Up Initial Budget Hearings

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday morning wrapped up two days of hearings on the budget passed by the House of Representatives two weeks ago.

Committee chair Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said he was pleased the house's budget avoided making the higher education cuts Gov. Jay Nixon had proposed. He said although the house's budget is larger than the one proposed by the governor, some of that money includes federal funding. The house's budget pulls about $94 million less from the state's tax revenue than the governor's initial proposal did.

Nixon's budget director, Linda Luebbering, said she was satisfied with most of the budget the house passed. She said the governor's biggest concern was restoring funding for a program for blind persons who aren't covered by Medicaid. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that program cost $28 million and served about 2,800 people. Sen. Schaefer said the senate will continue trying to find a solution to the program cut.

The committee will hold hearings on possible revisions to the house's proposal next week.