I and the other members of the House Budget Committee have worked long hours during the course of the session to craft a fiscally responsible state spending plan. Finally we have concluded months of work by finalizing the appropriations bills that will make up the Fiscal Year 2020 state operating budget. When we return from our annual break on March 25, the House will work to approve all the appropriations bills and send them to the Senate so that both chambers are on track to complete the budget by the May 10 deadline.

When we bring up the budget plan on the floor, it’s important to note that any changes made to the budget must remain revenue positive or revenue neutral. If a member wants to add money to a specific area of the budget, he or she must first find another area of the budget from which the funds can be transferred. There is no way to simply add funding to a particular program without first cutting it from somewhere else in the budget. This process ensures the budget remains in balance.

As the budget comes to the House floor it leaves approximately $133 million on the bottom line for FY2020 supplemental expenses. Funding highlights include:

Education:

$61 million increase to fully fund the school foundation formula at more than $3.94 billion

$3 million increase for Parents As Teachers program

$5 million increase for transportation expenses for local school districts

$700,000 increase to bring funding for school safety grants to $1 million

$1 million of spending approved to make improvements to the Missouri School for the Blind

Funding of Missouri scholarships

The newly proposed workforce development scholarship (Fast Track funded at $18 million)

$500,000 increase for A+ Scholarships

Nearly $1 million increase for Access Missouri Scholarships

$11 million to perform maintenance and repairs at Missouri colleges and universities

Funding of higher education workforce development initiatives (MoExcels projects = $17 million)

$8.5 million to support adult high schools

Infrastructure and Economic Development:

$100 million for statewide bridge repairs (according to the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program)

$8 million for major water reservoir projects

$440,000 to initiate new plant industries program (industrial hemp)

$30 million to fund the governor’s One Start initiative

$300,000 for the new Missouri Military Community Reinvestment Program

Funding and transfers to reorganize the Department of Economic Development across DHE, DNR, DIFP, and lieutenant governor’s office

$13.5 million of Volkswagen settlement funds appropriated to clean air projects and grants

$6.4 million for port projects along Missouri rivers

Miscellaneous:

$5 million for alternatives to jail program (pre-trial electronic monitoring to save counties and the state millions in prisoner per diem costs)

$9 million in rebased rates for developmental disability providers (improving access to services)

$1 million to start an Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes (ECHO) for autism

$153,000 to fund the Time Critical Diagnosis Unit inside the Department of Health & Senior Services

$1.1 million to fund juvenile justice offices (in Kansas City & St. Louis) operated by the State Public Defenders Office

Consolidation of two prisons in Northwest Missouri

Savings of prison closure to fund critically needed pay plan adjustments for Department of Corrections personnel

$23 million of new general revenue spending to pick up the loss of federal funds that previously supported critical mental health programs at certified community behavioral health clinics

1.5% rate increases to Medicaid providers (returning to FY17 reimbursement levels)

Thank you for reading my capitol report. I am honored to represent you.