Crafting the State’s Budget
All eyes were on the budget this week as the Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed state spending for Fiscal Year 2022. During the critical “mark-up” phase of the budget process, every expense of state government is examined. I and my fellow committee members reviewed each line item in the House budget bills, compared them to the governor’s requests, and made our own recommendations if we disagreed. In the coming days, the committee will present its version of the budget to the full Senate for its approval. The House can either accept the Senate changes or refer bills to a conference committee, which will sort out the differences. Both chambers will have to vote to approve the compromise budget bills that emerge from the conference committee. All of that must be done before 6 p.m., May 7.
Once again, I’m happy to report the budget for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education fully funds the school foundation funding formula. In addition, I requested a $1.1 million appropriation for St. Joseph’s Hillyard Technical Center. Technical education is critical to meet our workforce needs in Northwest Missouri. I’m grateful the Appropriations Committee adopted my amendment to provide additional funds to Hillyard to enhance our workforce development. This money will be used to replace outdated equipment and to provide new capabilities for the school.
I am humbled by the opportunity to serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee and participate in crafting our state budget. I am acutely aware that every expenditure we approve is purchased by taxpayer dollars thanks to your hard work. Our first obligation should be to you, the taxpayers, and I take that stewardship seriously. Important functions of government must be paid for – schools, roads, health care for our most vulnerable citizens, among them – but there is no room for waste or extravagance. You can be sure I will keep that in mind as we complete our work on the budget.
Finally, I’m pleased to announce the governor has signed Senate Bill 2. I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation, which expands the Missouri Works jobs creation program, allowing military jobs to be eligible for payroll tax incentives. The Air Force is evaluating potential sites for a new air evacuation unit and St. Joseph’s Rosecrans Memorial Airport is in the running. The legislation applies to new positions at any qualified military project in the state, but I’m hopeful the expanded incentives SB 2 provides will be enough to tip the decision in Missouri’s favor. Rosecrans, home of the Missouri Air National Guard’s 139th Airlift Wing, has a proud heritage of military service. I’m hopeful we can write a new chapter in its history with the location of an Air Force unit here.
It is my great honor to represent the citizens of Platte and Buchanan counties in the Missouri Senate. Please contact my office at (573) 751-2183, or visit www.senate.mo.gov/mem34.