Sen. Jay Wasson’s Legislative Column for the Week of April 25, 2016

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FY 2017 Budget Overview

Late last week, the Missouri General Assembly fulfilled its only constitutionally required duty when it passed the state’s operating budget for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2017. For the second year in a row, we delivered the budget to the governor’s desk two weeks ahead of schedule, leaving us with enough time to be able to overturn any of the governor’s line-item budget vetoes or decisions to withhold funds.

This year’s $27.1 billion budget provides a big boost to education funding, including an additional $71 million in foundation formula funding for the state’s K-12 public schools and expansion of early childhood services. Early childhood special education and the Missouri Preschool Program will receive increases of $21 million and $1 million, respectively. Thanks to funding increases for scholarship programs like Access MO, A+ and Bright Flight, higher education will be made more affordable for many of Missouri’s college-bound students.

Our public higher education institutions will see a 4 percent across-the-board increase in performance and equity funding, to the tune of $55.8 million. This additional funding is enough to freeze undergraduate tuition for another year. And despite a larger proposed cut of $7.6 million to the University of Missouri system budget in response to the UM Board of Curator’s mishandling of certain events this past year, the UM system will only see a $3.8 million reduction in their funding. While mistakes were certainly made, the last thing we would ever want to do is punish Missouri students or the teachers and faculty who had nothing to do with what transpired.

Another piece of good news is Missouri State University is set to receive $5 million for renovations to David D. Glass Hall; although House Bill 2018 is not yet finalized, we fully expect this funding to remain intact.

We worked hard to address the unsustainable growth of Missouri’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet, by removing $28.3 million from this year’s supplemental budget. A supplemental is needed in years when money has already been spent without the General Assembly’s authority. We also successfully defunded Planned Parenthood, which means Missouri taxpayers won’t be seeing any more of their paychecks being used to fund the state’s only abortion provider.

We included $20 million in transportation funding to revive the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Cost Share program, which provides financial assistance to local communities for state highway projects that satisfy a transportation need. By pooling state and local funds, our communities can more quickly pay for much-needed highway improvements, encouraging further economic growth and development in their areas.

Finally, Missouri state employees will receive a 2 percent pay increase, effective July 1, 2016 — the beginning of FY 2017. The new fiscal year will run through June 30, 2017.

If you have any questions or comments about this or any other matter regarding your state government, please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-1503; you are also welcome to e-mail me at

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