State Budget for 2019 Heads to the Senate (HBs 2001 – 2013)
This week at the capitol we approved a fiscally responsible spending plan that makes a record investment in K-12 education. Thirteen appropriations bills that make up the $28.1 billion dollar state budget for Fiscal Year 2019, which now goes to the senate.
It is my hope that our conservative spending plan which is based on a sensible estimate of revenue will avoid shortfalls that could force the governor to withhold funds. This 2019 budget plan enforces fiscal discipline by holding welfare spending in check. It also includes a budget reserve of $100 million to allow for emergency spending needs.
The budget committee should be commended for its commitment to transparency. This budget eliminates all “E”s, which represent open-ended spending limits on funds. The 2019 budget breaks down spending for the state’s legal expense fund, which previously had no system in place to track how dollars are spent to pay for settlements and judgments against state agencies. In addition, the spending plan improves transparency for spending within the state’s conservation department.
Our House version of the budget makes a record investment in K-12 education by fully funding the school foundation formula, which included new funding for early childhood education. In total, the House plan increases funding for the foundation formula by $98.9 million. Included in that figure is $48 million in new funding for pre-K education for low-income children. With this plan, the legislature would fully fund the foundation formula in back-to-back years for the first time in a generation.
The state operating budget as it leaves the House also restores $68 million in cuts to higher education. I would have preferred that some of this money be spent on post-secondary technical education and rural broadband. However, the majority felt it was important to hold down the cost of higher education for students and families.
Honoring Missouri’s Vietnam Veterans
The Missouri House of Representatives welcomed some of the state’s greatest heroes to the State Capitol this week to be honored for their service to this country.
More than 130 veterans stepped onto the House floor for us to honor and thank them for their service. I spoke with several veterans who told me they plan to visit the Perryville Veteran’s Memorial wall soon. I hope they will not be disappointed.
During the event, House members also paused to honor one of their own as they presented State Representative Pat Conway with an official resolution that recognizes him for his leadership in creating the state Vietnam Veterans Day. Conway played a pivotal role in securing passage of HB 1128 in 2012. The bill designates March 30 of each year as Vietnam Veterans Day in recognition of the courage and patriotism of those who served during the Vietnam Conflict. Conway has organized the Vietnam Veterans Day events in the House Chamber each year, and is himself a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. During the ceremony, members stood and applauded Conway for all that he has done to honor and recognize Missouri’s veterans.