Examining the State Budget for the 2019 Fiscal Year
Passing a balanced budget each year is the only constitutionally-mandated responsibility of the Missouri General Assembly. I was happy that, several weeks ago, the state legislature once again accomplished that goal. It’s a mighty task to weigh the portfolio of needs the budget must address, but, in my mind, it’s also incredibly fulfilling to see the good that work can accomplish.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how Missouri is spending its tax dollars for the upcoming year.
This year, we were able to fully fund the foundation formula for elementary and secondary education — the second year in a row. We managed to specifically designate more money for school transportation, as well. My area of the state, the 12th Senatorial District, encompasses many rural schools; for these institutions, transportation is vital to get students where they need to be, safe and on time. I was very happy to see the progress we made in this area.
The 2019 budget also managed to provide more funding for programs that support the most vulnerable citizens of our state, including our seniors and developmentally disabled citizens. We were able to increase funding for in-home health care services, as well as the daily reimbursement rates for nursing home services. I heard much about the importance of these programs from speaking with many people who depend on their continued operation. We must continue to honor our elders as best we can; they’ve worked a lifetime, and have earned a rest.
Additionally, I’m proud to say the legislature was able to reverse the governor’s proposed cuts to higher education. To compete in a modern economy, our kids need the best schooling available, and at an affordable price. Our colleges and universities are vital training grounds.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.