The Missouri Senate passed a $24 billion state budget early Wednesday morning, following several hours of debate and closed-door negotiations. The Senate reversed the House’s gutting of a pension program for the blind.
By a narrow margin, the Senate restored $28 million in state funding cut by the House last month, while leaving in 18 million in federal Medicaid dollars. Senate Appropriations Chair Kurt Schaefer says they now have more room to maneuver when negotiations with the House begin on the final version of the budget.
“We’ll go back and total up the numbers, obviously, for the senators that wanted to cut GR (general revenue) out of everything…and then we found a reasonable way to make blind health care more self-sufficient without general revenue,” Schaefer said.
Senators also narrowly defeated an attempt to remove a two percent pay raise for state workers earning less than $45,000 a year.
The General Assembly has until May 11th to send the state budget to the governor.