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Springfield, MO

Governor makes big decisions on budget, minimum wage bill

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Gov. Eric Greitens signed several bills June 30 and voiced his opinions on the standard statewide minimum wage bill, House Bill 1194 and House Bill 1193, according to a news release.

The minimum wage bill, passed by the legislature, will go into law Aug. 28 without Greitens’ signature. The measure will prevent Missouri cities from setting minimum wages above the state’s wage level at $7.70.

“This increase in the minimum wage might read pretty on paper, but it doesn’t work in practice,” Greitens said in the release. “They tried this in Seattle. The minimum wage went up and the results are heartbreaking: the average worker in the city lost $125 a month. That’s $1,500 a year because jobs were lost and hours were cut.”

The governor did sign House Bills 1-13, 17 and 18 – all budget bills passed by the legislature to fund Missouri government for the next year. 

Among the bills, the Foundation Formula was decided to be fully funded, according to the release. The formula, an attempt to balance factors such as the number of students in a district and the available local revenue, has not been fully covered in a decade, according to the Show-Me Institute organization’s website. Under Greitens’ administration, funding for K-12 education has increased by more than $133 million. 

The budget also includes $6 million for the governor’s rural school broadband program, $12 million for early childhood special education, over $10 million to keep children out of dangerous and abusive situations and over $12 million to combat the opioid crisis. 

Also, due to lower than expected tax receipts and rising health care costs, Greitens is restricting more than $250 million to keep a balanced budget. Funds such as the Facilities Maintenance Reserve Fund that’s used to maintain government buildings will be restricted. Health care providers servicing Medicaid patients will also receive 1.5 percent less in reimbursements to help make up the amount in restrictions, according to state documents by the Office of Administration’s division of budget and planning. 

Greitens also cut $15 million from K-12 transportation. 

Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, responded to the governor’s actions in a Facebook post the same day. 

“As someone who grew up in rural Missouri, I understand how precious transportation is to our schools,” Quade wrote. 

Quade also spoke for a bill vetoed by Greitens, HCB3, which asked the Commissioner of Administration to drain $34.5 million of various state funds into the general revenue to restore funds to nursing home services. Quade said she spent extensive time and energy on the bill. 

“About 8,300 Missourian will now lose care, not to mention the countless jobs that go along with those services,” Quade added in her response. 

Greitens argued that what he will continue to support and deliver are policies that will raise the take-home pay and opportunities of all Missourians. 

“Politicians were trying to spend money we don’t have,” Greitens said in the release. “So we’re left with two choices: raise taxes or cut spending. I will not raise your taxes.”

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