Parson signs $48 billion budget for Missouri, cuts tax refund program

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FILE – Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a campaign rally at a gun store Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, Lees Summit, Mo. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has endorsed a state budget by about $48 billion while cutting tax refunds by $500 million. Parson signed the budget on Thursday, June 30, 2022. But he also cut funds that lawmakers had earmarked for tax refunds for middle-income taxpayers. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday approved most of a roughly $48 billion state budget, while cutting the $500 million that lawmakers had set aside for tax refunds .

The budget outlines spending on state programs and services for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Friday.

Notably, Parson cut funding for a new tax refund program headed by the head of the House budget committee. He previously raised concerns about refunds, which were only to be given to people earning less than $150,000 and couples earning less than $300,000 a year.

Parson said he would prefer to give tax relief to all Missourians.

In total, Parson cut about $644 million from spending proposed by lawmakers, mostly federal stimulus funds.

“This past session has often been hampered by petty infighting and personal political interests, but common sense has prevailed,” Parson said in a statement, addressing Republican squabbles that have caused roadblocks in the Senate. “We commend the members of the General Assembly for taking advantage of this opportunity and prioritizing the continued success of our state.”

Other expenses Parson approved include money to fully pay the state’s share of K-12 public bus costs, which have been underfunded since 1991.

A new program included in the budget for the coming year will increase teachers’ salaries to at least $38,000 a year if local school districts agree to contribute 30% of the costs.

The Republican governor also signed a plan to give parents and other caregivers up to $1,500 in grants or reimbursements to pay for tutoring and other resources to help K-12 students catch up. during the coronavirus pandemic, another proposal led by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Cody Smith.

Public four-year colleges and universities are expected to get a 5.5% funding increase, or about $51 million from last fiscal year, plus an additional $460 million for construction projects on university and college campuses. of State.

Republican lawmakers caved this year and included money to pay for Medicaid expansion under the Federal Health Care Act of 2010 signed by former President Barack Obama, as approved by taxpayers of Missouri in 2020.

Parson approved this funding, along with more money to pay for home care for the elderly and people with disabilities.

He hailed infrastructure investment, one of his top policy priorities as governor. The budget includes nearly $366 million for broadband expansion and $608 million for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

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