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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  1. Ed Golterman says:

    No one knew the federal stimulus money would run out? Apparently it was not used to stimulate the economy. It it had there would be more tax revenue to lessen the budget deficit. They are in a ‘cuts’ mode and not a growth mode, like St. Louis County. I don’t know how that turns the economy around.

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