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Missouri Senate Appropriation Committee approves altered funding bill

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 | 7:31 p.m. CDT; updated 8:45 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 5, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Funding for a new Ellis Fischel Cancer Center survived other cuts that were made by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday to a bill that would fund projects across the state with federal stimulus funds.

The committee voted in favor of the altered bill unanimously Tuesday afternoon.

Changes from the House version

Cuts:

  • St. Louis outreach program for high school dropouts
  • Maintenance and improvements for Southeast Missouri State University
  • Maintenance and improvements for University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Construction and equipment for a plant science research facility in Mexico
  • Debt service related to energy cost savings contracts (Already covered in regular budget)
  • Construction of National Guard facility in Springfield (Already covered in another bill)
  • Highway construction to Missouri State Penitentiary Site
  • DNA analysis program in Kirksville, Mo.

Additions:

  • Construction of MOHELA projects suspended but not yet started
  • Demo maintenance repair for Bellefontaine Habilitation Center
  • St. Charles road-widening project
  • Corrections re-entry program in Kansas City
  • Construction of senior community center for the severely disabled
  • Maintenance of the health managed care system
  • Department of Health and Senior Services administrative tracking system
  • Funding for the Center for Emerging Technologies in St. Louis
  • Missouri Alternative Energy Center
  • Battery technology grants
  • Construction of state office building in Joplin
  • Funding for cooperative special education teachers' programs
  • Rehabbing project for State Fair Community College



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A number of projects were added and removed from the bill, upping the amount appropriated to $365 million from $336 million from the state's Federal Budget Stabilization Fund. 

The committee substitute includes the addition of funding for those projects that had been suspended but never initiated when funding from the sale of Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority assets was stopped by Gov. Jay Nixon in January.

The Senate also debated Tuesday the sale of bonds to fund higher education capital projects, some of which include MOHELA projects. Money received from the state will be capped so that the projects don't receive double funding.

A number of programs, including an outreach program for St. Louis high school dropouts, maintenance at the Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a plant science research facility in Mexico, Mo., were cut out of the bill.

Continuing some of the concerns voiced Monday during the House debate, Sen. Yvonne Wilson, D-Jackson County, proposed funding for the Kansas City Transportation Authority.

The St. Louis Metro received $12 million in the bill.

"This has become a very, very sticky item," Wilson said. "I've had more than 100 e-mails — and they're not standard e-mails; they are stand-alone requests for funding for KCATA — and my telephone has been ringing off the hook all day for funding for KCATA."

Wilson said public transportation is a necessity for families that use it to get to and from work.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, voiced his opposition to Wilson's amendment.

"I heard this request, and that request led to another request from Springfield, and that began to lead to other requests," Nodler said. "Based on the ever-expanding size of Santa Claus's bag, I will be recommending a defeat of this amendment."

The amendment failed.

There are no guarantees that the bill will remain unchanged once it reaches the entire Senate, where it might face further amendments.

 


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