Capitol Report from Randy Railsback
Weekly Capitol Report – Representative Randy Railsback
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – The House and Senate gave final approval to the FY22 State Operating Budget this week. The spending plan continues to support state operations while also providing funding to programs that will help lead Missouri out of the pandemic. In total, our budget contains over $35 billion of state and federal spending authority. It includes record investments in elementary and secondary education, funding for higher education facilities, subsidies for foster and adoption programs, and monies for other essential services.
Many constituents have contacted my office with concerns about unemployment repayments; I am happy to report that the final budget also includes $48 million to cover the repayments owed by Missourians who non-fraudulently obtained benefits in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been an uphill battle, and many people have reported predatory collection practices from the Office of Unemployment. It is my hope that these monies will help the countless families that are now struggling to make ends meet while also repaying benefits that they received in good faith. The budget also includes money for mortgage and rental assistance; this funding is meant to protect Missourians who lost income during the pandemic from being evicted and placed in even more dire straits. I also want to note that there are key funding items in the budget to be allocated to Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens - this includes nearly $150 million to increase reimbursements to providers that take care of Missouri’s developmentally disabled population. It also allocates over $20 million in new funding to increase salaries and retain corrections officers in Missouri’s Department of Corrections.
I want to thank the members of the House Budget Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee. They worked diligently throughout the legislative session, often well into the night, to present the General Assembly with a fiscally responsible spending plan that makes the best of Missouri’s available funding. Their long hours and meticulous attention to detail helped us get the budget across the finish line in a timely manner, and we are all very appreciative.
As always, it’s an honor and pleasure to serve you. Please feel free to contact my office if I can ever be of assistance by calling 573-751-0246 or email me at Randy.Railsback@house.mo.gov.