FY 2012 MISSOURI GENERAL ASSEMBLY BUDGET
The Missouri General Assembly passed its budget last week granting approval to a $23.2 billion budget. This budget reflects the continuing commitment of the House Majority to pass a budget that's not only balanced, but sets aside $28 million in savings and continues to reflect the top priorities of the Missouri General Assembly.
States across this country are faced with budget shortfalls on an unprecedented scale. Tough decisions made in the past, and tougher decisions made during this budget process have led to a budget that House Majority members can point to as a roadmap for continued fiscal recovery. The General Assembly balanced this budget while being able to hold K-12 education harmless to the 2011 funding levels, instituting only modest reductions to our higher education institutions, protecting low income health care and maintaining funding for other vital state services such as correctional facilities and public safety.
Further state restructuring and program changes will be needed to move Missouri through this current financial crisis. Continuing work by the House Appropriations Committees and the Interim Committee on Budget Transparency will enable this process to remain fluid and provide vital knowledge necessary to make difficult fiscal decisions.
- Left more than $28 million on the balance sheet, a balanced budget that continues to meet the needs of all Missourians.
- Held funding for the Foundation Formula. In light of recent historical declines in state revenues, the General Assembly was able to again make education the #1 priority.
- Mitigated the Governor's reduction to Higher Education by appropriating $12 million more to institutions across the state.
- Rescued the Senior Missouri Rx Program from elimination in the Senate.
- Continued funding for Missouri's commitment to the production of alternative fuels. This aims to continue to move Missouri towards an economy less dependent on foreign oil.
- A budget of over $8.4 billion for the MO Healthnet program. This money will continue to fund access to healthcare for the neediest Missourians.
- Combined funding of over $40 million for job training, retention and development programs within the Department of Economic Development.
- $365k in cuts to the Missouri House of Representatives budget, further proof the House is taking the lead during this financial crisis.
- Reduced funding for Department Directors and Deputy Directors to a maximum level of $86,500, saving state taxpayers over one million dollars.
- Held the Governor accountable for his excessive use of the state plane by restricting expenses from other state departments.
EDUCATIONThe General Assembly continues their strong commitment to public education. This budget is a clear reflection of how the General Assembly is prepared to support education in spite of the nation's economic downturn. Holding the Foundation Formula harmless during these challenging economic times further displays the commitment of the State Legislature to make education our number one priority. This year, total funding for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will exceed $5.2 billion.
Also included is the House's commitment to the state's higher education system. The General Assembly exceeded the Governor's funding levels for institutions by including a $12 million increase over the Governor's recommendation.
- Over $3 billion for the School Foundation Formula. This completes the House's plan to fund both the FY 2011 and FY 2012 Foundation Formula at the same amount, mitigating wild funding disparities that would have occurred in the Governor's initial plan.
- $107.8 million for the school transportation program. Withholdings in the current year by the Governor continue to effect out-state school districts.
- $300,000 for a pilot St. Louis math and science tutoring program. This will provide outreach to kids in inner-City St. Louis, a district that continues to struggle with underperformance in these areas.
- $29.3 million for the High Need Fund. This reimburses school districts for the excess costs of educating children with disabilities.
- Provides an increase in the Early Childhood Special Education line of $9.5 million. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that these services shall come at no cost to school districts, and we continue to meet this commitment.
- Over $16 million for the Parents as Teachers program.
- A modest 5.45% reduction to higher education institutions.
- An increase of one million dollars for the Bright Flight program. This will continue to ensure that our State's best and brightest stay in Missouri's higher education institutions.
- $7 million increase for the A+ Program. This will fully fund all eligible students.
- Continued funding of over $64.8 million for the Access Missouri Scholarship program. These successful scholarship programs will continue to allow Missouri students the ability to attend Missouri public and private institutions.
ACCESS TO HEALTH CAREThis budget provides access for low-income health care across the entire state of Missouri. With the state's new focus on early diagnosis and treatment, as well as prevention, we are moving in the right direction for the needy citizens in Missouri.
The Missouri HealthNet program will receive over $8.4 billion in funding, an increase of over $537 million. This continues to be the single largest program in the State of Missouri, and while the commitment of the House Majority to low-income health care cannot be debated, the staggering caseload increases and subsequent cost increases continue to put an enormous strain on state finances. With this trend, and the imminent enactment of Obamacare, the State of Missouri must continue to look for ways to manage our Medicaid system in the most efficient way possible.
- Provides $152.5 million to continue the MO Healthnet programs as well as $95.8 million in caseload growth to accommodate the increases in the low income health care population. This continued growth, coupled with an impending federal health care mandate, will have serious consequences on future General Revenue outlays.
- Increased funding for the MO Healthnet/Mental Health Partnership which saves the state approximately $15 million per year on pharmaceutical costs.
- Over $58.8 million in funding to pay for increased mental health caseloads.
SENIOR CITIZENSThis year's budget continues to honor and assist our seniors by continuing our commitment to providing funding for nursing homes, in-home services, home delivered meals and the Missouri Senior Rx Program.
- $571 million for our State's nursing home industry.
- $581 million for in-home services. This funding ensures that seniors will be able to stay in their own homes with care.
- Approximately $37 million for non-emergency medical transportation.
- Increased funding of $942,000, totaling over $40.6 million for Area Agencies on Aging (AAA's). This will support continued congregate and home delivered meals.
- Rescued the MO Senior Rx Program from elimination in the Senate. This will benefit over 207,000 seniors in the state.
AGRICULTURE AND ENERGYMissouri's primary industry is agriculture, and our state cannot meet the challenges of the competitive global economy without a healthy, vibrant agricultural system.
America uses foreign oil at an alarming rate. We must look to agriculture as a solution to this dependence. The Missouri House of Representatives is seeking innovative solutions to our energy issues through the promotion of biofuels. Research institutions statewide continue to develop new, innovative means to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
This budget, as it affects agriculture, is forward-looking, as we continue our service to Missouri farmers, while realizing the potential of Missouri agribusiness in the new, global economy.
- Continued funding of the biodiesel incentive fund totaling $11.9 million.
- Continued funding of the ethanol incentive fund totaling $8.9 million.
- $24 million in aid to private land owners for local soil and water conservation efforts.
- Added ten investigative staff for the purpose of animal health investigations throughout the state in response to concerns brought by Prop B.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTThe Missouri economy-fueled by key budgetary and policy decisions passed by this General Assembly-is continuing to move in the right direction despite challenging economic times nationwide. Combined with the Quality Jobs Act, continued funding for job creation and incentives for innovation will be vital as we strive to climb out of this global financial recession.
- House funded over $2.1 million for innovation centers, the State MOFAST program and the Missouri Manufacturing Program. These programs will continue to assist businesses in job training/job retention programs throughout the State.
- Continued full funding for the Community College Jobs Retention Training ($10 million), Community College New Jobs Training ($16 million) and Jobs Development ($14.5 million) programs. Combined, these programs will continue to aid in statewide workforce development.