Under the budget, Gov. Jay Nixon is given $200,000 for travel, but is restricted from billing other agencies for those expenses.
Earlier this year, Nixon was criticized for billing other agencies about $400,000 to cover his flights, hotel stays and other expenses. This came after he ordered the same
agencies to cut their own travel budgets.
Budget chairman Rep. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City) said “if [Nixon] wants to travel it should be open and transparent.”
Conference committee members from both chambers met Wednesday night to hammer out a final proposal.
A compromise was reached over funding for higher education and school busing.
The plan also continues funding for in-home care services for low-income residents with disabilities, as well as the Missouri Rx Plan, a prescription drug program for low-income seniors.
The final proposal gives $12 million to higher education. This is a 5.45 percent budget cut, pared down from the governor’s recommendation of seven percent.
Rep. Mary Still (D-Columbia) said that although the cuts were minimized, “they are cuts and they are significant cuts.”
Still added that Missouri is ranked 49th in the country when it comes to making investments in higher education.
On the other hand Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) said the decrease in cuts will have “a significant impact on higher education and mid-Missouri.” The plan budgets an additional $3 million dollars for the University of Missouri.
The budget also includes $30 million in scholarship funds for students at universities and colleges across the state.
The budget will now be sent to Gov. Nixon. He can opt to veto it or reduce spending within the plan. The approved budget would take effect July 1, 2012.