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Negotiators Approve Final Version Of Missouri Budget

Courtesy of governor.mo.gov

Missouri House and Senate budget negotiators have crafted a final version of next year's state budget.

The nearly $25 billion spending plan includes a $66 million increase for K-12 schools, and a $25 million hike for state universities and community colleges.  It still does not include the Medicaid expansion proposed by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, which disappointed committee member and State Senator Kiki Curls, also a Democrat, from Kansas City.

"There are hundreds of thousands of working Missourians that don’t have health care, and I think it was a prime opportunity for us to be able to provide health care services to some of those folks who need it most," Curls said during budget negotiations Tuesday.

Republican budget writers have also restored most, but not all, of the funding for Missouri’s Motor Vehicles division within the Department of Revenue. 

House Budget Chairman Rick Stream is a Republican from Kirkwood.  He says they’ve restored funding for only eight months, through February of 2014, and that getting the rest of the funding will depend on whether they change their policy of scanning and storing source documents for driver's license applicants.

"They need to stop (doing) that," Stream told reporters during a break.  "It's all part of the big picture of this whole plan of sending a message to DOR and the (Nixon) administration that we didn't like what was being done with scanning of documents and sending information out of state."

Stream says if Revenue officials comply, then the rest of the DMV’s funding would be included in next year’s supplemental budget. 

The State Senate last month completely de-funded the Motor Vehicles division over its scanning policy, and for releasing the state's entire list of conceal carry holders to a federal investigator. 

Governor Nixon last month ordered the agency to stop scanning documents for conceal carry applicants, but not for those seeking driver's licenses and other licenses.

Missouri lawmakers have until Friday to send the state budget to the Governor.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
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