Senate panel endorses roughly $24B budget plan

A Missouri Senate committee signed off Thursday on state spending cuts to social services while sparing education from budget blood-letting.

The social service cuts include less money for state grants to preschools and for subsidized child care to low-income working parents. While the Senate Appropriations Committee reduced a cut the House proposed for a health care program for the blind, its plan assumes participants would start paying deductibles and premiums.

But the panel’s plan would keep funding flat for colleges, while offering a modest boost to the state formula for distributing basic aid to Missouri school districts.

In all, the Senate Appropriations Committee embraced a roughly $24 billion budget that is about $86 million less than the version approved earlier by the state House. The budget now moves to the full Senate, and a committee of House members and senators are likely to meet to negotiate the differences. Lawmakers have until May 11 to pass a budget for the 2013 fiscal year that starts July 1.

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