by District 58 Representative Willard Haley
House in final week of legislative session
The Missouri Legislature only has one week left in this session before adjourning for the summer break. The House and the Senate will both adjourn on Friday, May 13, at approximately 6:00 pm. So far, the House has first-read 1,595 bills, third-read and passed 147 bills, and 25 bills have been truly agreed to and passed in both the House and Senate. I expect a flurry of activity next week as we try to get some important pieces of legislation across the finish line before adjourning.
Our Legislature has given final approval to a spending plan that allocates record levels of funding to the state’s system of education, as well as to vital infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, ports, water systems, and broadband. The budget plan also provides funding for programs that assist the state’s most vulnerable citizens, increases support for law enforcement and public safety, invests in the state’s workforce, and provides funding for a one-time economic recovery tax credit.
The House and Senate were able to compromise on the various differences in the plans approved by either side and send the state spending plan to Gov. Parson before the deadline. The finalized version of the state operating budget contains approximately $44.7 billion in funding for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. Additional appropriations bills approved by both chambers provide an additional $3.8 billion in funding for various capital improvement projects, as well as maintenance and repair of statewide facilities.
The budget includes billions of dollars in new funding for K-12 education, which includes full funding for the state’s K-12 foundation formula. In total, House members approved nearly $10.4 billion in funding for K-12 education, which represents an increase of more than $2.9 billion in funding when compared to the previous budget. That increase is fueled primarily by an additional $2.4 billion in federal funding. The final version of the budget includes a funding boost of $214 million for school transportation, which provides an unprecedented level of funding for the school transportation formula.
The plan also takes significant steps to improve teacher pay in Missouri. It includes an additional $21.7 million to provide voluntary grants to local school districts, which can use the funds to help raise minimum teacher pay to $38,000 annually. Districts that opt in will see the majority of the increase funded by the state with the remainder funded by the district. The budget also allocates approximately $37.4 million to revive the Career Ladder program, which allows school districts to supplement the pay of teachers who take on additional duties.
The finalized budget plan also makes a strong investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure. The spending plan allocates nearly $148 million in new funding from the State Road Fund, which is used for maintenance and construction for roads and bridges. The spending plan also includes $100 million for rural roads around the state that have fallen into disrepair. Additionally, the plan allocates $75 million in federal funds for the Transportation Cost-Share Program that partners with local municipalities to fund road repairs.
In addition, the House’s plan to provide substantive tax relief passed as the General Assembly approved $500 million in funding for a one-time economic recovery tax credit for Missouri residents who paid personal income tax in the state for 2021. It allows anyone filing an individual Missouri personal income tax return to receive a credit equal to their tax liability up to $500. Married couples filing jointly would receive up to a $1,000 credit.
Visitors to my office this week included Greg Harris, Kendra Varns Wallis, Dawn Nicklas, Brent Hemphill, Liz Henderson, and Jennifer Hawkins. Resolutions were presented to Rosa Klein, formerly of Syracuse, who celebrated her 90th Birthday, and to Bob and Ruth Brizendine of California, who celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Events attended included the Moniteau County Crime Watch meeting and the fundraiser for the California Nutrition Center.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns please contact me at 573-751-2077 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I always welcome individuals, families and school groups to visit me in the Capitol. I look forward to hearing from you.
by District 58 Representative Willard Haley