By Kat Riddler, Managing Editor
Missouri Governor Greitens had to sign off on the budget passed by the Missouri General Assembly by July 1. On Friday, Greitens signed his first budget, cutting a total of $251 million in spending from the $27.8 billion budget. The last minute budget cuts were cited being because of lower-than-expected revenue growth in the state.
“Politicians were trying to spend money we don’t have. So we’re left with two choices: Raise taxes or cut spending. I will not raise your taxes,” said Greitens, who has made a practice of bashing his fellow GOP lawmakers.
Under the previous budget proposed by lawmakers, universities were set to see a 6.5 percent reduction. Greitens boosted that to a 9 percent cut in core funding to save $24 million. Transportation funds for K-12 schools were cut by $15 million around the state. The Medicaid program was cut $60 million. Department of Social Services was also cut $30 million from its budget, but the budget did not say exactly what would be cut from the agency. The budget also reduced the reimbursement rate for Medicaid providers by 1.5 percent and reduced the spending on foster care by $400,000 and on youth residential treatment facilities by more than $1.9 million. Greitens cut the state’s tourism budget in half by eliminating $10 million of its budget.
Along with the budget that did not give a pay increase to state workers, who are the lowest paid state employees in the nation, Greitens announced he would let the bill passed by the General Assembly to gut the St. Louis minimum wage to become law without his signature. This means that the $10-an-hour minimum wage that was in place since May will come to an end on August 28.
Greitens also vetoed legislation that would have spared cuts to in-home and nursing care services for seniors and people with disabilities. About 8,300 people now face losing those services according to the Associated Press.