(The Center Square) – When Missouri lawmakers reconvene their 2021 legislative session on Monday after a spring break pause, Gov. Mike Parson’s $34.1 billion budget request for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will be front-and-center in the House.
House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, told reporters last Thursday before lawmakers left Jefferson City for the 11-day break that he wants the House to deliver a proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget to the Senate by April 2.
“If things go according to plan, the second week after we’re back (beginning Monday, March 29), we could be looking at perfecting and third-reading the budget and sending it over to the Senate,” Smith said.
The 2021 session began on Jan. 6 and is scheduled to conclude on May 14. The last day appropriations bills can be considered is May 7.
Smith said so far, so good with the budget meeting timelines as it works its way through the process for ultimate adoption by both chambers and endorsement by Parson.
“We’re on schedule so far and our intention is to try to get it done in time enough to send to the Senate and give them adequate time for their consideration,” he said.
Parson’s FY22 budget request trims $1.1 billion in overall spending from the current year’s spending plan but includes a $583 million increase in funding from Missouri’s general revenue fund, which will begin FY22 on July 1 with a $1.1 billion surplus.
Among other highlights, the governor’s proposed plan allocates $14.1 billion for Medicaid and $3.56 billion for K-12 public schools while outlining a 2-percent pay increase for state workers and calling for no tax increases.
State voters in August approved Amendment 2, expanding Medicaid to low-income adults. According to Parson’s budget request, 275,000 low-income Missourians are expected to enroll, adding $1.9 billion in costs to the state’s FY22 budget.
Of that $1.9 billion in additional Medicaid costs, about $1.65 billion will be paid for with federal funds and about $130 million will come from state general revenues and other sources, including taxes on medical providers.
Overall, according to the budget request, the state’s $14 billion Medicaid program, will be subsidized by about $11.5 billion in federal money.
The Parson administration is also proposing a $1.67 billion supplemental budget that would allocate federal dollars received via two 2020 assistance packages adopted by Congress, including the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.
That proposed supplementary budget does not incorporate the $2.8 billion Missouri is set to receive from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden last week.
Smith said last week the state envisions “various purposes” for the supplemental budget revenues and the new federal assistance package.
Unlike the previous federal allocations covered in Parson’s supplementary spending request, the $2.8 billion from the American Rescue plan will be funneled into House Bill 1236, which Smith filed in late February.
According to the Missouri Budget Project, altogether the state will receive $5.48 billion in federal assistance from the package with the state allocated $2.8 billion, counties across the state expecting $1.2 billion, cities with a population of 50,000 or more receiving $830 million, smaller cities slated for $442 million and $195 million earmarked for specific state capital projects.
HB 1236 would create a 2021 Federal Economic Stimulus Fund to house all the money the state receives from the American Rescue plan, as well as any other federal assistance through Dec. 31.