(The Center Square) – Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s $51.8 billion budget for fiscal year 2025 doesn’t have any large projects when compared to previous years.
Last year, Parson planned to spend $859 million to expand I-70 to six lanes from Kansas City to St. Louis and ended up approving $2.8 billion for the project. This year, two budget items – one for elementary and secondary education and another for a 3.2% cost-of-living increase for state employees – have costs of more than $100 million.
Approximately $120.6 million is budgeted to fund the state’s elementary and secondary education formula. Parson provided $111 million for the state employee pay increase. An additional 1% salary increase will be awarded for every two years of continuous service and capped at 10% for 20 years of service for eligible state employees working in congregate care facilities.
“Working with all of you, balanced and conservative budgets have always been the norm and never the exception,” Parson said Wednesday during his final State of the State address.
Almost half of the total budget, $25.7 billion, is federal funding to be allocated. Approximately $1.5 billion is budgeted for federal money to flow through the Department of Economic Development for broadband development throughout the state. While the Department of Transportation will receive approximately $366 million in federal funding, Parson’s budget includes $290 million for the state transportation improvement plan. The funds pay for highway and bridge construction, training and technology for local transportation agencies, long-term transportation planning to enhance safety, and roadway data collection efforts.
“I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate on crafting a budget that aligns with the needs of our constituents while maintaining a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility,” House Budget Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, and a candidate for treasurer, said in a statement. “Over the next few weeks, the budget committee will analyze the governor’s recommendations. It is our constitutional duty to pass a balanced budget. As a steward of taxpayer dollars, I am determined to pass a sustainable budget that will better position Missouri in the years going forward.”
The governor’s budget estimates individual income tax collections of approximately $8.3 billion out of a total tax revenue estimate of $13.2 billion.
For the second straight year, Parson made increasing teacher salaries part of his budget. Approximately $4 million will be allocated to strengthen teacher recruitment and retention by providing state funds to local school districts to increase the basic pay to $40,000 per year.
“We are very grateful for an investment in our teachers, which is really an investment in our children,” said Margie Vandeven, commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. “This $4 million will move us out of the bottom and closer to the middle (of state salary rankings). We know this is a priority for a number of states.”