missouri budget project

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Missouri is headed to the polls this week to vote for, among other things, a ¾ cent sales tax increase that would be used to fund Missouri’s Department of Transportation, or MoDot. Missouri citizens have the special privilege of deciding whether to bankroll a decade of transportation projects, thanks to former Missouri congressman Mel Hancock.

Hancock grew up in Springfield, Mo and before being elected to the U.S House of Representatives in 1989, he forever changed Missouri’s tax code with something called “The Hancock Amendment.” The amendment limits the power of the state legislature to raise taxes on its own, only allowing for small, inconsequential bumps. Voters have to approve bigger tax increases in an election, like the one Missouri is having this week.

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A state funding shortfall is hitting some Missouri school districts harder than others.

A report released Wednesday by the Missouri Budget Project says the state is underfunding public school districts by $656 million this year. That's based on the amount called for under a 2005 law that re-wrote Missouri's school funding formula.

The report says the shortfall amounts to about $700 per student on a statewide basis. But those figures vary widely by district.