It has been a busy week in Jefferson City, and one that will have a significant impact on Missouri families struggling to overcome these difficult economic times. Unfortunately, however, the impact will be detrimental rather than helpful.
This week, the Missouri House passed a series of budget bills for Fiscal Year 2010, which include severe cuts to state services. Those most significantly impacted include abused children, foster children, and uninsured Missourians, but the cuts will impact all Missourians.
The Missouri Budget Project estimates that as many as 70,000 Missourians will be directly impacted by the cuts. In addition, Missouri might forfeit as much as $200 million in critical federal funds, which could result in a loss of thousands of Missouri jobs.
The cuts are not only harmful for Missouri families, but also unnecessary. As a result of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Missouri is expected to receive at least $4.3 billion in increased federal funds over the next two years. These funds could more than cover restoration of the proposed cuts.
Federal funds have been provided to states to prevent cuts to critical services when people are most vulnerable, and to maintain and create jobs that will stimulate the economy.
The failure of the Missouri House to fund services in this time of increased need for families is unconscionable. Our legislators have the resources to fund critical state programs, encourage job creation and help our state recover from the economic downturn.
The FY 2010 budget bills now move to the State Senate for consideration. Please contact your State Senators and encourage them to utilize this federal funding for its intended purpose – helping Missourians weather the recession and creating the jobs that will bring our state into more prosperous economic times.
Amy Blouin is the Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project. The Missouri Budget Project is a statewide nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that analyzes and informs the public about Missouri budgetary and fiscal policy options and provides analysis of policy issues. Please visit www.mobudget.org to learn more.