House and Senate budget negotiators have finalized the 12 remaining bills that make up Missouri's state budget for Fiscal Year 2015.
Both sides signed off on increasing funding for K-12 schools by $114.8 million. If Gov. Jay Nixon's rosier revenue projections hold true, school spending would get a $278 million spending hike. Higher education would increase by $43 million, about 5 percent. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, chairs the House Budget Committee. He said they also put money in next year's budget to help finance a new state mental hospital at Fulton.
"There were two or three or four different ways to get Fulton (State Hospital) funded," Stream said. "We were moving 3 or 4 footballs down the field and hoping that one would pass … and this particular one, it's a plus in that it only spends $14 million per year, but it does go out (for) 25 years."
There was very little disagreement between the two chambers.
The Senate got its way on zeroing out a $6 million allocation for creating a potential new state park in place of the current Ozarks National Scenic Riverways. However, the House was able to maintain a one-dollar line item for the proposal, a figure that could be expanded in the future if the federal government were to ever surrender control of the park to the state of Missouri.
The GOP-led House and Senate have until Friday to send the 12 budget bills to Nixon, a Democrat. Floor debates on the 12 remaining budget bills are expected to take place Thursday in the Senate, and either Wednesday or Thursday in the House. House Bill 2001, which covers commissions that handle state bonds, has already been sent to the governor.
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