HOUSE CLEARS 2010 BUDGET
"A COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME"
The House passed a $22.8 billion operating budget in a series of votes Thursday.
Democrats complain that the GOP majority passed up a rare opportunity to restore health care coverage to 35,000 Missourians through no cost to state taxpayers.
Gov. Nixon's plan to increase access would be financed by higher hospital taxes and matching federal dollars, but GOP leaders rejected the plan. "Our version of the budget continues the promise that Missouri will live within our means," said Republic Rep. Jim Viebrock in a statement.
"This is rational and prudent health care policy. It is not charity," said Rep. Chris Kelly, a Democrat who many Republicans respect.
ALSO: The Missouri Budget Project estimates that as many as 70,000 Missourians will be directly impacted by cuts to mental health and senior services.
"The sham that is the House budget process has been a colossal waste of time,” said House Minority Paul LeVota in a stronger statement. "The Senate is going to toss the House budget straight in the garbage and start from scratch."
LeVota complained that the budget process is too centralized with the House budget Chair writing most of the budget with little input from other members. LeVota also said that the public only had time to testify on the budget before the budget bills were filed.
But in his weekly newsletter, Rep. Viebrock took aim at the protesters who appeared at the Capitol this week. He said they showed up "too late."
"Right on schedule, the protesters showed up on Wednesday for a rally and to encourage the legislature to fully fund their cause," Viebrock wrote. "They gathered out on the front lawn, got all pumped up and stormed the building chanting and screaming clever catch phrases. They demanded changes and additional monies be put into the budget. All of that is well within their rights to do, however, as I have been stating in previous reports, the time to have that kind of input- has already passed. The day we are voting on the final proposal is simply too late. These groups are nowhere to be found when the actual work takes place, they do however, have no problem showing up after the fact to complain," he said.