On April 24, the Missouri Senate passed the 13 bills that compose the state operating budget for the 2020 fiscal year. Now that the Senate and House of Representatives have each passed their respective versions of the budget, a conference committee will meet to discuss any discrepancies. Both bodies must approve identical versions of the state budget by May 10. The governor will then consider which parts of the budget to sign into law, and which parts, if any, to veto and send back to the Legislature. The 2020 fiscal year begins on July 1.
As approved by the Senate, the 2020 state budget covers approximately $29.753 billion in public funding. About one-third of the budget comes from the federal government, with stipulations on where and how the money can be spent. Another third goes toward general revenue, the state’s discretionary spending account. The final third is targeted spending, or money that is designated for a specific state department or a particular project or purpose.
In its version of the budget, the Senate chose to fully fund the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s foundation formula for the third year in a row while also providing an additional $10 million for school transportation. $26.3 million goes toward workforce training programs, and $28 million is directed toward public four-year colleges. A bonding plan will finance $301 million worth of bridge replacements and repairs, with an additional $50 million transfer from general revenue to the State Road Fund and $35 million of matching funding for local transportation projects. This preliminary budget prioritizes what I believe are two of the most important services of state government: effective education and reliable infrastructure.