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House Passes Untraditional Budget Giving Lump Sums To Departments

March 19, 2003
By: Matt Talhelm
State Capital Bureau

Next year's budget is now in the hands of the Senate after House Republicans gave their final approval. However, this budget is unlike past years.

The eighteen point five billion dollar budget takes an untraditional approach by giving department directors lump sums of money for their department's programs.

Each department, then, can pick and choose which programs receive funding.

Democrats question the Republican budget method, saying the legislature should decide program funding.

Republican Representative Robert Schaaf says the departments know best.

RunTime: :14
OutCue: "..reduce spending."
Contents: Without the help of the departments, the sheer volume of data, the number of programs, the complexity of the system made it impossible for us to analyze and make decisions about where to reduce spending.

The untraditional budget plan will now go on to the Senate, where it faces concerns from both sides of the aisle in the.

The state's budget for the upcoming fiscal year will now head to the floor of the Senate after passing through the House.

House Republicans pushed the untraditional budget plan through final approval on Wednesday.

The 18 point 5 billion dollar budget breaks from past budgets, because it doesn't appropriate money for individual programs.

Instead, the budget bills allot lump sums of money to department directors who then decide how to spend it.

Republicans say they couldn't identify where to cut funds themselves, so they'll let it up to department heads.

Democratic Representative Philip Willoughby says that plan doesn't ensure the money goes where it's needed.

RunTime: :12
OutCue: "..bad policy."
Contents: We are not actually guaranteeing that one dollar will be spent on any specific program. I think you've short changed us on this, and I'm voting against it like all the others because I think it's bad policy.

The budget bills face concerns from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.

The state of Missouri finally has a budget, but not for this year.

House Republicans pushed through a series of bills that outline the eighteen point five billion dollar budget....for next fiscal year. The budget bills will give department heads a lump sum of cash for them to decide how to spread it among their programs.

Republicans say its a spending decision that departments know best.

St. Louis City Democrat Connie LaJoyce Johnson worries that without the legislature's breakdown of program funding, health care services may get cut.

RunTime: :13
OutCue: "..mentally disabled."
Contents: This budget does not appropriate for the benefit and the welfare of the citizens of the state of Missouri. We are not adequately providing and designating sources of funding for our seniors or the mentally disabled.

Democrats had wanted an itemized budget with added revenue from casino and cigarette taxes. The bills now head to the Senate for consideration.