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Nixon job-cutting proposals largely on track

Missouri budget ready for conference committees

Gov. Jay Nixon’s budget plan for state government’s 2011-12 business year contained no pay raises or benefit changes for state employees.

And it proposed cutting another 800 jobs from the state’s payrolls.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering said last week all three of those areas are on-track as the Senate and House get ready to hold conference committees on the budget bills they have not, yet, agreed on.

“The job changes are fairly consistent with the Governor’s recommendations,” Luebbering said, in an e-mailed response to a reporter’s questions. “The House appears to be about 40 positions below the recommendation and Senate about 70 below.”

Nixon had proposed a full-time-equivalent workforce of 56,550.86 — an 800-job reduction from the current business year’s budget.

State employees’ pay and benefits will remain unchanged for a third year.

“I sympathize and empathize,” Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, said Friday. “But Missouri cannot print money.”

Freshman Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, had promised at the beginning of the session to try to convince colleagues to give state employee pay raises and to protect state workers — especially those in Mid-Missouri — from facing more job cuts.

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The pay raise idea went nowhere.

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