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House passes budget early

The Missouri Senate will get it hands on the proposed state budget sooner than usual, thanks to swift action by the Missouri House this week.

The Senate will start hearings on the spending plan about three weeks earlier than usual. House Speaker Rep. John Diehl said this week that moving quickly on the budget process will force the governor to make line item vetoes to the pending plan while the legislature is still in session, so they can be reviewed and voted on.

It would also potentially prevent Nixon from spending the summer traveling around the state and whipping up support for any vetoes he would make within the budget.  The tactic worked to his advantage in 2013 when lawmakers failed to override his veto of a controversial tax cut.  Last year, lawmakers passed a similar tax cut early enough to stage a successful veto override before the end of the 2014 legislative session.

The roughly $26 billion spending plan includes an increase of $74 million for the state’s public elementary and secondary schools, that’s a little more than $24 million dollars more than the Governor Nixon recommended.  Higher education would get $9 million more than the governor recommended under the House spending plan.

The 13 bills of the budget do not include a pay raise for state employees, nor do they include a medicaid expansion plan that would have expanded the current state program to cover those up to 138 percent of poverty.

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