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Thu March 8, 2012
House budget would cut services to the blind, restore higher education dollars
Budget writers in the Missouri House have approved their version of the 13 bills that make up the state's budget for next year. Committee members eliminated $28 million for a program that aids the blind, but then put 6 million back into it from another source.
Republican Ryan Silvey of Kansas City chairs the Budget Committee.
"The money is for people who have too much money to be on Medicaid. So there was some concern about providing a transitional benefit for those that maybe just barely have too much money, but we don't know who those are right now because we don't means-test them. So we thought if we put some money aside for a cushion that the department could then develop some sort of means-tested program."
That $6 million that was restored to the program's budget would benefit about 600 blind Missourians, compared to the 2,800 currently receiving aid. House budget writers also reversed Governor Nixon's proposed cuts to higher education, thereby maintaining current funding levels. The full House will take up the state budget when lawmakers return from spring break, which begins Friday.