Supplemental Budget Approved
This past week, the first bill to cross the legislative finish line during the 2022 session reached the governor’s desk. House Bill 3014 authorizes supplemental appropriations to the current fiscal year budget. Unlike the relatively modest supplemental budgets of past years, HB 3014 contains billions of dollars of additional spending for stimulus and COVID-19 response programs created by Congress. Essentially, the $4.6 billion spending package is a road map for how Missouri will use all the extra money the state received from Washington, D.C.
A big share of the money appropriated in HB 3014 goes to Missouri school districts. All told, the bill contains nearly $2 billion to help schools continue to educate children despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the programs created by Congress had to be funded by March, so Missouri was in a “use it or lose it” situation. If we didn’t claim our share, money for Missouri schools could have been redirected to other states, such as Illinois or California. It was imperative to get these funds out by the deadline to make sure our money stayed here in the state.
Not all of the education money in the supplemental budget will go to the classroom, however. There’s also more than $440 million for child care services in Missouri. I’ve had several opportunities to meet with the lieutenant governor and industry leaders to discuss the child care crisis in Missouri and we’ll be meeting again soon. I look forward to filing legislation to increase access to affordable child care in our state.
One particular appropriation in HB 3014 will be appreciated by many of my constituents. The budget includes a specific zero-dollar line item for facilities that provide abortion services. The Legislature clearly stated its intentions by putting Missouri’s money – or lack of it, in this case – where we think it should go. Not one dime of Missouri taxpayer money will be spent to fund abortions.
Finally, despite the busy budget discussions taking place all week, I had the opportunity to meet with some special guests from the district. One young man in particular made such an impression that I introduced him in the Senate chamber and arranged for him to sit at the dais for a time. Lucas Alexander is a young constituent from Seymour who comes to the Capitol each year to promote “Feeding Missouri.” Lucas has chosen this program, which fights food insecurity, as his 4-H leadership project. I’m incredibly proud of his work.
We also had a number of members of local Farm Bureau chapters visiting the Capitol as part of that group’s annual legislative briefing. I was honored to attend the Farm Bureau legislative dinner this week and visit with members from through the district. I saw folks from Webster County all the way to Ripley County and everywhere in between who were eager to discuss issues facing rural Missourians.
It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882, or my District Office at 417-596-9011. You can also visit my webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.