Missouri Facing $500M Hole in Upcoming Budget

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri lawmakers will be trying to plug a roughly $500 million gap in next year’s budget when they convene their 2012 session on Wednesday.

State budget director Linda Luebbering says much of the hole is due to a reduction in federal money, such as stimulus funds and Medicaid payments.

Also straining the budget is the growth of health-care costs. For example, government health officials say more Medicaid recipients are using home-based services.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer says he plans to make education funding the top priority in the budget. He says he hopes to avoid cuts to K-12 schools and public colleges and universities and instead focus cuts on social services programs and other state agencies.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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