An interim House committee announced this week by House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, will spend the next few months looking at ways to improve Missouri’s budget process. Tilley said the House Interim Committee on Budget Transparency will continue the work of a similar interim committee formed last year for the same purpose.

“As Missouri families and business continue to work to do more with less during these tough economic times, we believe state government must do the same,” said Tilley. “I have encouraged the members of the committee to look for ways to root out waste, fraud and abuse in government and ensure a more efficient and accountable state government.”

The committee will be chaired by state Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, who also chairs the House Budget Committee and who served as chair of last year’s interim committee. In 2010, Silvey and his colleagues pored over budget details as they met with representatives from every state department during a series of weekly hearings.

"We’re looking at yet another budget situation that will require state government to tighten its belt in much the same way Missouri families do when times get tough,” said Silvey. “We’ve made a serious commitment to ensuring we have the most efficient government possible – one that doesn’t duplicate services or waste money on ineffective programs. My plan with the committee is to continue that effort and find fiscally responsible solutions for the budget challenges ahead.”

The committee plans to hold a series of hearings in the coming weeks. Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, will serve as vice chairman of the committee. Other members include Reps. Sue Allen, Tom Flanigan, Marsha Haefner, Randy Asbury, Mike Lair, Denny Hoskins, Mark Parkinson, John Cauthorn, Sara Lampe, Chris Kelly, Jeanne Kirkton, John Rizzo and Gail McCann Beatty.
 
The Missouri House passed its budget this week granting approval to a $23.2 billion budget.  This budget reflects the continuing commitment of the House Majority to pass a budget that’s not only balanced, but sets aside $49 million in savings and continues to reflect the top priorities of the Missouri House of Representatives.

States across this country are faced with budget shortfalls on an unprecedented scale.  Tough decisions made in the past, and tougher decisions made during this budget process have led to a budget that House Majority members can point to as a roadmap for continued fiscal recovery.  The House balanced this budget while being able to hold K-12 education harmless to the 2011 funding levels, while instituting only modest reductions to our higher education institutions, while protecting low income health care and while maintaining funding for other vital state services such as correctional facilities and public safety.

Further state restructuring and programmatic changes will be needed to move Missouri through this current financial crisis.  Continuing work by the House Appropriations Committees and by the Interim Committee on Budget Transparency will enable this process to remain fluid and will allow members the needed knowledge of state services to continue to make fiscal decisions.

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
  • Left more than $49 million on the balance sheet, a balanced budget that continues to meet the needs of all Missourians.
  • Held funding for the Foundation Formula harmless.  
  • In light of recent historical declines in state revenues, the House Majority was able to again make education the #1 priority.$365k in cuts to the Missouri House of Representatives budget, further proof the House is taking the lead during this financial crisis.
  • Reduced funding for Department Directors and Deputy Directors to a maximum level of $86,500, saving state taxpayers over $1.0 million.
  • Held the Governor accountable for his excessive use of the state plane by restricting expenses from other state departments.


EDUCATION
The House of Representatives continues their strong commitment to public education and this budget is a clear reflection of how the Missouri House is prepared to deal with the nation’s economic downturn.  Included in this is the House Majority’s continued commitment to make K-12 education the highest priority.  Holding the Foundation Formula harmless during these challenging economic times further proves this promise.  Total funding for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will exceed $5.2 billion.
Also included is the House’s commitment to the state’s higher education system.  The House exceeded the Governor’s funding levels for institutions by implementing the Preparing to Care program, a $12M increase over the Governor’s recommendation.
HIGHLIGHTS:
  • Over $3 billion for the School Foundation Formula.  This completes the House’s plan to fund both the FY 2011 and FY 2012 Foundation Formula at the same amount, mitigating wild funding disparities that would have occurred in the Governor’s initial plan.
  • Funding for education also includes:
  • Over $16 million for the Parents As Teachers program. 
  • A modest 7.0% reduction to higher education institutions.
  • $7M increase for the A+ Program. This will fully fund all eligible students.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Missouri economy—fueled by key budgetary and policy decisions passed by this General Assembly—is continuing to move in the right direction despite challenging economic times nationwide. Combined with the Quality Jobs Act, continued funding for job creation and incentives for innovation will be vital as we strive to climb out of this global financial recession.
HIGHLIGHTS
:
  • House funded over $2.1 million for innovation centers, the State MOFAST program and the Missouri Manufacturing Program.  These programs will continue to assist businesses in job training/job retention programs throughout the State.
  • Continued full funding for the Community College Jobs Retention Training ($10M), Community College New Jobs Training ($16M) and Jobs Development ($14.5M) programs.  Combined, these programs will continue to aid in statewide workforce development.  

 

 
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Rep. Ryan Silvey- Budget Committee Chairman
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