Tax credit debate raises the possibility of further budget cuts

With only three weeks left in the legislative session and only two to pass the state budget, tensions are rising, and the legislative process has slowed to a crawl.

At the heart of the debate over the state budget is HCB 3, which would repeal the renter’s portion of the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit. Currently, an estimated 100,000 elderly and disabled utilize the credit, which costs the state about $56 million.

Members of the House counted on this legislation being repealed in order to keep their version of the budget balanced.  As of today, the Senate has not agreed to the House position on this, and so there is another $56 million in cuts that may be needed to balance the budget.

Currently, Missouri’s community colleges and all higher education institutions are facing somewhere between a 6.5 percent and a 9 percent cut, but the final number won’t be decided until the budget goes to the conference committee.

Further complicating matters, it’s possible that individual Senators may continue to slow debate and filibuster in order to push through their own priorities.  This week, the Senate spent a considerable amount of time in a filibuster that included one Senator reading long passages from his favorite book. 

These disagreements have nothing to do with community colleges, but everyone that has an interest in pending legislation and budgets are affected.  The clock is ticking, as the legislature is required by the Constitution to pass a budget by May 5.  

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Cynthia Clausen - Monday, April 24, 2017
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Was the "filibusting" Senator reading Confederacy of Dunces? Because that would be appropriate.

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