JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Missouri legislature has only one day left to get a 2023 state budget on the governor's desk, and both chambers have yet to pass the 15 budget bills.
Fifteen budget bills passed out of the conference committee Wednesday and now are awaiting approval in the Senate and House of Representatives. The House left without taking up the bills because there's a rule that the chamber must wait 24 hours before taking up conference reports.
"I'm very confident that we'll be able to get that done in the House, we'll see in the Senate who decides to slow things down. And it has to get done tomorrow," said Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis), ranking member of the House Budget Committee.
Merideth said the conference committee was a collaborative atmosphere. Lawmakers worked both across the aisle and across the building to get the budget done just in the nick of time.
"For the most part, folks were working pretty well together," Merideth said. "I can tell you, the Senate Republicans, in particular, the Democrats have had a really good relationship with the Senate Republicans on budget, um and so there's been a lot of bipartisanship, maybe less so with the House Republicans."
Democrats supported a lot of Gov. Mike Parson's priorities for the budget this year, such as teacher pay raises, state worker pay raises and workforce development. The pushback on some of those issues was from Republicans, but eventually, most of Parson's priorities did make it into the budget.
"You know, at the end of the day a lot of good things in that budget this year, a lot of things that mean a great deal to the state of Missouri when we start talking about workforce development and we talk about infrastructure, a lot of things in there, so we believe they'll get it done," Parson said.
On Friday, lawmakers will meet again. The House is expected to take up budget bills then. Senate leadership says it will take up budget bills Thursday night. Senators got a late start Thursday afternoon after not adjourning from Wednesday until 5 a.m. the following morning.