This week, the Missouri Senate approved its version of the state’s operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022. Composed of 13 appropriations bills, the budget provides funding to a wide range of state departments, agencies and resources. This year, I am glad to report the budget includes a two percent pay increase for our hardworking state employees. I hope this increase will help make state worker pay more competitive and ensure we retain high quality workers. The budget also fully funds the Foundation Formula for our K-12 schools and includes a $20 million increase in school transportation funding, which works to ensure children throughout Missouri arrive to and from school safely. Lastly, the Senate’s budget includes $48 million in federal stimulus funds to cover the state’s share of unemployment overpayments. I hope this funding, as well as legislation I’m working to pass through the Senate, will provide some peace of mind for Missourians who sought out unemployment in good faith during the pandemic, but were later asked to repay it.
While the Senate has passed its version of the budget, some work remains to be done before the bills heads to the governor’s desk for his consideration. Over the next week, the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget will be worked out by lawmakers in conference committees. The Legislature faces a constitutional deadline of May 7 to pass the state’s operating budget.
In other legislative news, my Senate Bill 36 has passed out of the Senate and is now making its way through the Missouri House of Representatives. This legislation creates the Capitol Complex Tax Credit Program and aims to support restoration efforts for historical buildings located in downtown Jefferson City, like the State Capitol. Also moving through the House is my Senate Concurrent Resolution 15, which designates June as Scoliosis Awareness Month. The end of session is fast approaching, but I’m optimistic we can get both of these bills across the legislative finish line before session ends on May 14.
As always, it is an honor to serve the 6th Senatorial District. If my office can be service to you, please feel free to contact us at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Bernskoetter.