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Politics

Budget Bills Introduced

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/budgetbill_621.mp3

Missouri lawmakers only recently got a glimpse of the bills that outline the state's budget. This week is their first opportunity to work on the bills. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

UNTIL LAST WEEK, MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE AND THE APPROPATIONS SUB-COMMITTEES HAD NO BILLS FROM WHICH TO WORK.

THEY HAD BEEN DISCUSSING EXPENDITURES AND CUTS BUT HADN'T HAD SEEN THE BUDGET IN A COMPLETE FORM.

NOW THAT THE BUDGET BILLS ARE AVAILABLE, HOUSE DEMOCRATS SAY THEY'RE NOT PLEASED WITH WHAT THEY'RE SEEING.

JEFF HARRIS IS THE HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER.

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE IS REPUBLICAN BRAD LAGER.

HE SAYS THE BUDGET IS A RESPONSIBLE SPENDING PLAN THAT PROTECTS SERVICES FOR LOW-INCOME MISSOURIANS.

LAGER'S BUDGET BILLS AREN'T EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL.

BUT IT DOES REFLECT CUTS TO THE MEDICAID PROGRAM THAT ARE SIMILAR TO THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET.

GOVERNOR MATT BLUNT SAYS ANYONE WHO OPPOSES CUTS TO SOCIAL SERVICES IS ESSENTIALLY IN FAVOR OF A TAX INCREASE.

GOVERNOR MATT BLUNT HAS SAID THAT TO FUND ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION ADEQUATELY, LAWMAKERS MUST CUT BACK ON SOCIAL SERVICES SPENDING.

BUT THE RANKING DEMOCRATIC MEMBER OF THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE, FRANK BARNITZ SAYS IT'S NOT FAIR TO FORCE LAWMAKERS TO CHOOSE.

WHILE DEMOCRATS HAVE OPPOSED REPUBLICAN-BACKED PROPOSALS TO CUT MEDICAID AND OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES, THEY HAVEN'T OFFERED AN ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL.

INSTEAD, THEY SAY THE GOVERNOR AND REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE LEADERS SHOULD COME UP WITH A BETTER BUDGET PLAN SINCE THEY'RE IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS.

LAWMAKERS HAVE UNTIL MAY 6, THE CONSTITUTIONAL DEADLINE TO FINISH THEIR WORK ON THE BUDGET AND SEND IT TO THE GOVERNOR.