UPDATE: Missouri lawmakers delay budget negotiations

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 1:21 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers have delayed formal negotiations on the state budget until at least Thursday.

A budget conference committee meeting that had been scheduled for Wednesday was canceled, though informal discussions among House and Senate budget writers are ongoing.

Among the most pressing decisions facing negotiators is whether to cut funding for a health care program for blind residents. The House of Representatives previously approved a significant cut while the Senate voted to continue full funding.

Negotiators will also be deciding how many state employees should receive raises. The House version of the budget offered a 2 percent raise to employees earning up to $70,000. The Senate version set that cutoff at $45,000.

Lawmakers face a May 11 deadline to send a budget plan to Gov. Jay Nixon.

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