Missouri lawmakers approved the state budget for the 2012 fiscal year Thursday. They sent the proposed budget to Gov. Jay Nixon, who can veto or reduce spending but cannot add to it. The spending amounts to slightly more than $23 billion, roughly $1 billion less than the 2011 budget.
The budget does not contain any new tax increases. But growth in mandatory programs such as the $8.4 billion Medicaid health care plan for the poor meant that lawmakers could not make increases or reductions to other programs for the budget year that begins July 1.
According to an Associated Press article, some lawmakers also lamented over the budget's reliance on hundreds of millions of federal stimulus dollars, which will either have to be replaced with state dollars or counteracted with cuts in the 2013 budget.
Public colleges and universities will experience a decline in aid. However, the decline will not be as sharp as originally proposed by Nixon in January. While the governor's original outlined plan would reduce higher education budgets by 7 percent, the budget approved Thursday proposes a roughly 5.5 percent cut.
The budget also includes a $1.1 million increase for the state's oversight of dog-breeding businesses, which have been a focal point of controversy in Missouri. The increased spending is linked to funding for state inspectors and enforcement efforts to the separate legislation overhauling of the voter-approved law last fall.
Are you satisfied with Missouri's proposed 2012 budget?