Students and teachers from Pettis County R XII School visited the Capitol this week. Representative Cox helped me greet these young scholars. (Contributed photo)
The General Assembly spent the majority of the week on budget bills. The $26.6 billion budget outlines the priorities of the legislature for spending in Fiscal Year 2015 (beginning July 1, 2014). Here are some highlights of the budget:
1. $278 million increase for the Foundation Formula ($122 million from General Revenue and $156 million from Surplus Revenue) which makes the K-12 education budget the largest in in state history.
2. $8.2 million for Missouri Preschool Program in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts.
3. $3.5 million for reading programs in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts.
4. $1 million increase in Parents as Teachers.
5. $1 million increase for Teach for America.
6. $25 million increase to transportation funding.
7. $29 million increase in First Steps Program.
1. 3 percent increase to the core at every university and community college in the state.
2. $10 million in equity funding for community colleges.
3. Full ride loan forgiveness for Bright Flight recipients who stay and work in Missouri.
4. $20 million increase for Access Missouri.
5. $6.7 million increase for A+ Scholarship Program.
6. $1.5 million in University of Missouri-St. Louis equity funding.
1. $4.5 million for matching funds to Early Stage Business Development Grants.
2. $5 million increase to Missouri Technical Corporation to help small business start-ups.
3. $5 million increase to promote tourism.
1. $7.2 million in payments to the biodiesel incentive fund.
2. 1 percent pay raise for state employees.
3. Money for an extra day of courier service to the state lab and money for the lab to run on the weekends for newborn screening test results.
4. Expand dental coverage to adult Medicaid recipients to cut down on emergency room visits.
5. $600,000 in highway safety improvements.
Among the visitors at the capital this week were representatives from the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, and students and teachers from Pettis County R-XII school (Dresden), and many more!
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City and Missouri. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.