JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators are considering a nearly $25 billion budget plan that may be most notable for what it doesn't contain.
Senate debate on the budget began Monday with education funding among the first items up. The budget includes a $66 million increase on top of the current $3 billion in basic aid for public schools. But that still falls $620 million short of what's called for by a state formula.
Later Monday, senators were to discuss more contentious topics. The Senate budget plan wipes out funding for the motor vehicle and driver's license division. The intent is to register senators' disapproval of licensing procedures that include making electronic copies of applicants' personal documents.
Like the House, the Senate plan includes no money for Gov. Jay Nixon's proposed Medicaid expansion.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri social service officials have told a House panel the state could save $28 million annually by moving people from welfare programs onto federal disability payments.
The Republican-led committee is investigating a contract that pays Boston-based Public Consulting Group $2,300 for every Missouri resident moved onto disability payments.
Officials with the Department of Social Services told the panel Monday the contracts saves money for the state and assigns people to the appropriate program.
People on welfare are required to engage in job-seeking activities. Committee Chairman Rep. Jay Barnes, of Jefferson City, says people receiving disability payments are unlikely to seek work because it would negatively affect their federal benefits. Barnes called for the hearing in early April.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could increase Illinois' unpaid bills.
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that the expansion would also force the state to take even longer to pay its existing $9 billion in backlogged bills.
Medicaid is the government health program for the poor and disabled. The General Assembly is considering approving a federally subsidized expansion of the program. Estimates show that about 342,000 additional Illinois residents could become eligible under the planned expansion.
The federal government would fully fund the first three years of the expansion. It would then incrementally drop the funding.
The Illinois Senate in February approved a measure authorizing the enrollment increase. Officials expect the House to vote on the issue by May 31.
CHICAGO (AP) - State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a point in picking out Illinois' financial problems, but Illinois businesses should stay put.
Perry is in Chicago to try and lure Illinois companies to Texas. He wants competition between the states and says Texas is a better place for companies. The Republican former presidential candidate is meeting with companies and speaking at a bioscience conference. He's made a similar trip to California.
But Illinois Republicans aren't so thrilled by the trip.
Rutherford is a Republican and considering a 2014 run for governor. He says Perry's attempt to poach businesses should "sound an alarm to state leaders."
He says Illinois has the factors it needs for a good business climate, but it should address its nearly $100 billion pension problem.