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Missouri legislature passes $35 billion budget, major cuts avoided by potential federal dollars


The Missouri Senate and House of Representatives passed a $35.2 billion budget Friday hours before their 6 p.m. deadline.

State Rep. Kip Kendrick, the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, said about $10 billion comes from general revenue, another $10 billion comes from other funds and $14.7 billion comes from federal funding.

Lawmakers had to make difficult decisions due to a steep drop in revenue caused by the coronavirus outbreak. State Sen. Caleb Rowden, the Senate majority leader, said they had to cut about $700 million dollars from the budget, which was a quick turn around to meet today's deadline.

"We thought we were going to be by 4 percent or so," Rowden said. "And then 6 weeks later we're down 8 percent, so cutting $700 million out of a budget in that time frame is certainly not easy."

The final version of the budget spares public K-12 schools and community colleges and universities from major cuts. However, four-year colleges could face a 10 percent cut in state funding if Missouri doesn't receive enough federal aid.

This comes after Gov. Mike Parson already withheld money from four-year universities to balance this year's budget.

"To turn around on top of that and propose a 10 percent budget cut would be very problematic for institutions," Kendrick said.

While the House cut that funding, the Senate has the authority to delegate federal funding, so the Senate stabilized the budget with potential federal dollars.

"The 10 percent in general revenue reduction can be made up," Kendrick said. "Hopefully some, if not all of it will be made up by federal funds that may be come available in the coming months."

If the state's revenue continues to drop, Kendrick said some of the federal funding may be put in other areas, and it's ultimately up to the governor to decide how much funding universities will recieve.

Kendrick said the federal funding isn't here yet, but is cautiously optimistic.

"I can say with certainty that if more federal funds do not come down to the state of Missouri, then our budget is significantly out of balance and there will be very significant withholds," Kendrick said.

Rowden is confident federal dollars will come in but is also confident in the budget lawmakers passed Friday.

"I think the way we structured the budget, I'm not even sure I'd say if the money doesn't come then it's out of balance," Rowden said "It just depends on what money comes when."

"The governor is going to have to make sure the budget is balanced and make sure cash flow is where it needs to be so that's where withholds come in," Rowden said.

The budget now goes to the governor's desk for a signature. Parson can veto funding for specific programs.

Both Rowden and Kendrick said it's likely the legislature will have to meet for a special session to discuss the budget more once they have a more solid idea of the figures.

Jefferson City / Missouri / Missouri Politics / Money / Money / Politics / Top Stories

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


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