Mo. House approves $124 million to cover additional expenses

Thursday, February 22, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The state House voted Thursday to approve $124 million to cover additional government spending, a portion of which would be used for education and ethanol.

The supplemental budget covers expenses that were not accounted for last spring when lawmakers passed the state's $21 billion budget, which runs through June 30.

The legislation adds $38.7 million to the basic formula used to fund K-12 education. It also adds $5.1 million to make back payments for state ethanol incentives.

The education money is needed because lawmakers last year had to budget money for school funding before all the data was available to calculate how much each school district is required to receive.

Lawmakers voted 153-5 to pass the supplemental budget, sending it to the Senate.

The legislation also includes $752,000 to pay for machines and other equipment to produce state identification cards after lawmakers passed a law last year requiring most voters to show a government-issued photo identification at the polls.

That law was declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court before the election, but not before the Department of Revenue purchased 25 custom-built mobile devices that combined a computer with a camera to issue state ID cards.

Because the devices are capable of producing state drivers licenses, they pose a potential security risk and state officials are uncertain what to do with them.

Democrats, who opposed the voter ID requirement last session, said the machines are a prime example of the cost of carelessness.

"This is a terrible example of government waste," said Rep. Rachel Storch, D-St. Louis.

The bill also includes money to cover student loan defaults, an agriculture odor abatement program and Medicaid computer system improvements.

Gov. Matt Blunt has already signed into law a portion of the supplemental budget to put additional money into energy assistance for Missourians with low incomes.

A third supplemental budget bill to add money to college scholarships and federally qualified health centers has been approved by the House Budget Committee but still awaits debate by the full House.


Supplemental budget is HB14

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