Capitol Report
Senator Delbert Scott


APRIL 22, 2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     


Senate Approves Its Version of $18.8 Billion Operating Budget;

Increases Education Funding Above Governor’s Recommendation


            JEFFERSON CITY -- The Missouri Senate this week gave approval to its version of the state’s annual operating budget that funds virtually all state services Missouri provides for its citizens. The Senate’s version of the budget totals $18.8 billion, and includes increases for education funding greater than those recommended by Gov. Holden in his annual budget message last January.

            The Senate approved a total of $4.753 billion for elementary and secondary schools in Missouri. This includes $2.566 billion from the state’s General Revenue Fund, $994 million in federal funds and $1.2 billion in other state funds earmarked for education. The Senate’s version of the bill provides $41.3 million more for schools than requested by Gov. Holden, and about $1 million more than approved by the House in its version of the budget. The Senate’s appropriation is a $202 million increase over what public schools received this fiscal year and a $389 million increase over what schools received last year.

            The Senate approved a total of $1.046 billion for the state’s colleges, universities and community colleges. For the current fiscal year, colleges received $1.02 billion. Last year, they received $986 million. This appropriation does not include $350 million in bond funding for life sciences construction on college campuses that is now in a separate measure being debated by lawmakers.

            The Senate’s budget allocates $459 million for the Revenue Department, which includes operation of the department and refunds to be paid to citizens for state income tax refunds.

            The state’s Department of Transportation would receive a total of $1.643 billion under the Senate budget. Last year, the Department received $1.724 billion. The decrease results from a core reduction in proceeds from bonds authorized by the Legislature, but that the Highway Commission has chosen to no longer issue.

            The Senate budget contains an appropriation of $172 million for the Office of Administration, the core bureaucracy of the executive branch. This is a reduction of more than $3 million from last year’s appropriation accomplished through reductions for personal services expense and equipment and reducing one-time expenditures of federal funds for security, license and business continuity.

            The Senate this year approved $723 million for state employee benefits. This is an increase over last year’s appropriation of $653 million. The increase funding is intended to pay for salary adjustments, retirement benefits and increases in health care costs for state workers.

            The Senate approved $33 million for the Agriculture Department, $329 million for the Department of Natural Resources and $133.9 million for the Department of Conservation. The Department of Economic Development would receive $276.5 million under the Senate spending plan, the Department of Insurance would receive $14.4 million and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations would receive $158 million.

            The Department of Public Safety, which includes the Missouri Highway Patrol and the Missouri Water Patrol will receive $370 million under the Senate budget, and the Department of Corrections would receive $573.4 million. This funding would include reversing the Governor’s plan to close Chillicothe Correctional Center.

            The Senate budget would allocate $971 million for the Department of Mental Health. The Department of Health and Senior Services would receive $448 million.

            The largest single appropriation in the Senate budget is for the Department of Social Services. This year’s version would total $6.2 billion, an increase over last year’s total of $5.5 billion.

            The budget passed by the Senate appropriates $122 million for statewide elected officials, $167 million for the Judiciary and $31.5 million for the Legislature.

            Final differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget will be worked out in joint conference committees made up of both senators and representatives. Lawmakers have until 6 p.m. May 7 to complete work on the budget. Once finalized, the budget will take effect on July 1.