- Associated Press - Thursday, May 4, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Latest on Missouri’s roughly $27 billion spending plan for the fiscal year beginning in July (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

Missouri senators have passed a plan to prevent cuts to in-home and nursing care for seniors and people with disabilities.

Senators voted 28-5 Thursday to spend as much as $35.4 million to keep those services intact.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens initially recommended reducing in-home and nursing care to save money.

House members earlier Thursday passed a proposed budget that softened those cuts. But more than 8,300 senior and disabled Missourians would be at risk of losing state help under that plan.

Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick had pushed to end a tax break for low-income seniors and disabled renters to spare those cuts to in-home and nursing care.

But that proposal also met pushback.

Senators instead want to pull unused money from a wide variety of state coffers in order to protect the services for seniors and people with disabilities.

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12:30 p.m.

Missouri lawmakers have approved a spending plan to cut core funding for public colleges and universities by about 6.6 percent.

Legislators on Thursday sent the plan to Gov. Eric Greitens‘ desk. It’s part of a package of bills outlining the state’s $27 billion budget next fiscal year, which begins in July.

Lawmakers’ work comes amid a budget crunch and lagging state revenues. Greitens and his predecessor, Jay Nixon, have made a combined $350 million of spending cuts to offset lower-than-expected revenues.

Greitens had asked lawmakers to cut higher education funding by nearly 10 percent to balance next year’s budget. Legislators softened those cuts.

The proposal also seeks to force public colleges and universities to charge international tuition to students without lawful immigration status and bans scholarships for those students.

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12:20 p.m.

Missouri lawmakers have approved a budget plan that would give $3.4 billion in basic aid to public K-12 schools.

The roughly $48 million increase sent to Gov. Eric Greitens‘ desk on Thursday would mean Missouri meets funding goals called for under state law.

Lawmakers face a Friday deadline to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.

The K-12 education budget passed by the Legislature calls for about $45 million more in basic aid for schools than what was recommended by the new Republican governor, who had asked for a slight increase but not enough to meet funding goals.

Lawmakers also spared money for school busing. Greitens wanted to cut that by about $25 million compared to this fiscal year.


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