Missouri House, Senate reach budget agreement

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | 9:40 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on the state's roughly $23 billion operating budget.

Budget negotiations wrapped Wednesday night during a relatively brief public session. Lawmakers had struggled to make progress on the budget this week. They face a Friday deadline to give final approval to the 2012 budget that will take effect July 1.

Among the biggest sticking points had been funding for colleges and universities, aid for public school busing, in-home care services for low-income disabled residents and prescription drug coverage.

Lawmakers agreed to lessen a proposed cut to higher education and plug more money into the busing aid. Negotiators also agreed to keep funding for the Missouri Rx Plan and not cut reimbursement rates for the in-home care providers.

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