JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Lawmakers in Jefferson City have one week to decide how they want to spend $2.7 billion in federal funding in the 2023 state budget.
The Senate Appropriations Committee will meet Monday at 2 p.m. to go over some final budget bills before the May 6 deadline. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are on that agenda. Senators on both sides of the aisle expressed that getting the budget done before the deadline is the top priority.
Appropriations Chair Sen. Dan Hegeman (R-Andrew) said the committee wants to perfect some final budget bills on Monday and possibly Tuesday before conferencing with the House of Representatives to create a final budget.
"We still got some committee work to do on some of the capital budgets, the higher number budget so we hope to do some of that," Hegeman said.
ARPA funds are intended to be used for pandemic recovery projects. Missouri received over a $5 billion split between the state government, city governments and local jurisdictions.
The Missouri Budget Project highlighted some uses for ARPA funds: Medicaid expansion, education, child care and emergency assistance funds.
In his State of the State address in January, Gov. Mike Parson said his priorities for ARPA funds are workforce development and education.
Sen. Brian Williams (D-St. Louis), who sits on the Appropriations Committee, said the Democratic party's top priority at the moment is getting the ARPA funds to those in need.
"I think the priority right now is just getting the budget done," Williams said. "Getting that done and getting that money to various parts of the state for people that need it to ultimately recover from COVID."