The Missouri House approved its side of the supplemental budget last week, passing along a $1.2 billion package to the Senate for consideration. While the upper chamber holds off on its side of the discussion until after Thanksgiving, here’s a look at the budget as it stands so far in the process.
More than $75.6 million is set to go toward the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Most of the funds were earmarked to reimburse schools for school food programs, a topic that saw debate in the House last week as GOP Rep. Justin Hill argued the provision distracted from the issue of in-person education.
“This is keeping other people’s priorities over educating our students,” Hill said on the floor.
The remainder of the funds allocated to the department, more than $266,000, is set aside for the Missouri Healthy Schools, Successful Student Program which focuses on improving health knowledge and educational and social outcomes for students.
The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) would be allotted nearly $147 million under the supplemental budget, with more than $146 million earmarked for the coronavirus response effort, including PPE and program distribution, while the remainder would go to support the Division of Regulation and Licensure.
The Department of Social Services would see $222 million of the budget with funds going toward family support grants, low-income home energy assistance programs, domestic abuse shelters and services, and support for Missouri’s Medicaid program.
The Department of Economic Development is set to receive $23 million under the current language, earmarked for the Business and Community Solutions Division and the Community Development Block Grant Program.
Additionally, $34 million is set to fund programs authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor, such as Disaster Unemployment Assistance, in place of Missouri’s Division of Employment Security.
The Office of Administration will receive more than $7.6 million from the supplemental bill. Most of those funds are earmarked for its Information Technology Services Division, while more than $1 million is set aside to reimburse the Division of Employment Security for claims paid to former state employees for unemployment insurance.
The Department of Public Safety is set to use $2 million for the Pretrial Witness Protection Fund, using $1 million from the federal Victims of Crime Act and the other from the state’s general revenue. The department is also set to receive $1.8 million to go toward training expenses for the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and first responder programs.
The budget also earmarked $746 million through general revenue and CARES Act funds to go toward any state agency administering relief services during the declared state of emergency at the governor’s direction. Of that, $10 million of the allotment is to be drawn from the state’s general revenue.
The Department of Mental Health would get just shy of $5.2 million to extend grants, contracts, and payments from private and federal agencies between sessions of the Missouri General Assembly. The legislature must be notified of the grants and their usage per the bill’s language.
The Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development is set to receive more than $1.3 million for its job training programs while the Department of Natural Resources would receive $33,000 for its Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program, designed to benefit low-income Missourians by providing low-cost home improvement services.
The second extraordinary session of 2020 was called to distribute the state’s remaining CARES Act funds before their expiration on Dec. 30 of this year. The House passed the bill last week, sending the budget to the upper chamber for consideration.
Senate leadership announced a pause in the extraordinary session Monday in light of positive COVID-19 cases among members and staff, saying they expect to take up its side of the discussion after Thanksgiving.