CAPITOL REPORT: REPRESENTATIVE PATRICIA PIKE
Improving Economy Prompts Release of Withheld Funds
Dear Citizens: Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Missouri continues to see signs of a healthy, growing economy. The state’s rising revenue totals have prompted Gov. Mike Parson to release funds that were previously withheld to ensure a balanced budget. Parson announced the release of more than $38 million in general revenue, as well as the issuance of nearly $95 million in CARES Act funding. The $133 million in funding will go to critical services in several areas, with nearly $100 million going to support K-12 and higher education.
Earlier in the year, the state restricted approximately $436 million in spending in an effort to keep the budget balanced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to withhold that amount was based in part on a projection of approximately 16.3 percent unemployment in the state. Today, the state’s current unemployment rate is at 7 percent, which is significantly less than what was projected and lower than the current national rate. The state also saw net general revenue collections for September 2020 increase by 3 percent compared to September 2019, increasing from $917.3 million last year to $944.5 million this year.
The governor is directing $61.5 million of CARES Act funding to K-12 education, which will be distributed to school districts through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on a per-pupil basis. The remainder of the CARES Act dollars will help support private colleges and universities, assisted living and residential care facilities, child care providers, and independent living centers. The funds will also help citizens suffering from substance use disorders access additional recovery services.
Private colleges and universities will receive $10 million in CARES Act funding. $26 million in general revenue will go to higher education, including public community colleges and four-year higher education institutions. The remainder of the general revenue funds will help build on Missouri’s infrastructure and serve military communities, improve access to critical services for senior citizens and developmentally disabled citizens, help those experiencing barriers to entering the workforce, and help fight violent crime through the Attorney General’s Safer Streets Initiative.
The funds will also help ensure that individuals receiving government assistance actually qualify for that assistance, ensuring better accountability for taxpayer dollars. A full breakdown of the CARES Act and general revenue funds, can be found at the following link: https://oa.mo.gov/budget-planning/budget-information/2021-budget-information.
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