Senate prepares to take up budget bills
With several major issues pending, the Senate Appropriations Committee completed work on open items in the budget bills and set the stage to send the FY18 budget to the Senate floor next week, two weeks before the May 5 deadline. Still pending are:
- questions regarding repeal of a $57 million circuit breaker tax credit for senior citizens. The House assumed this tax credit in its budget, but the Senate does not appear to support it;
- changes in the point system used to determine eligibility for seniors regarding in-home or nursing home care;
- and the phase-in of statewide managed care, which will result in health plan changes for more than 540,000 Missourians on May 1.
The fiscal impact of those issues, along with the level of funding provided for elementary and secondary education and higher education, will form the basis for conference committee negotiations in the next two weeks.
Assuming there will be no changes in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s budget when it goes to the full Senate floor next week, the major conference issue for the UM System will be the percentage of our core funding cut, which will range from the Senate’s 6.58% cut to the House’s 9.02% cut. The UM System and other public higher education institutions have urged legislators to equalize the core cuts among all public institutions. Both versions return the UM System’s core funding lines to a single line.
This week, the Senate Committee closed the budget lines on the MU Medical School expansion to Springfield at the House’s $5 million position. This represents half of the requested funding for the program. It also closed the budget line on the Missouri S&T/Missouri State University engineering partnership at the House’s position of $1 million. This also represents half of the requested amount. These items will not be conference issues. The Committee also closed the budget line on the UMKC/Missouri Southern State University dental partnership by supporting a $3 million appropriation split between the institutions rather than the $3.5 million requested. The House provided $1.5 million for the program which will make it a conference item.
Several other UM System-related lines were different between the two chambers as reflected in the list below. In the conference committee, only the differences in budget lines between the chambers are up for consideration.
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There will be no federal update, Congress is in recess.