I voted No on 7 of the 13 budget bills – because the funding proposed is simply not adequate for Missouri. We had spirited floor debate on Tuesday and Thursday on the need to increase state revenue to avoid program cuts but we Democrats were not taken seriously.
Programs are consistently pitted against each other in terms of validity. However I try to be very conscientious as to how my constituents and the rest of the state will be affected through proposed budget cuts.
I voted No on both elementary/secondary and higher education bills (HCS HB2002 & HCS HB2003) because funding is not adequate and clearly not a priority for the majority party. We debated over 2 hours on pulbic education dollars not resulting in proper returns - on which I disagree. I spoke passionately in favor of our 5 school districts and the excellent jobs our superintendents are doing faced with lack of funds– caring for homeless and hungry students, lack of early childhood programs and furloughing essential teachers & personnel. Our children deserve more, not less.
I also voted No on HCS HB2005 concerning the Office of Administration. I am strongly opposed to state funding $500,000 for advertising for Alternatives for Abortion centers. This was not discussed at any of my General Adminstration Appropriation Committee hearings but inserted in the bill substitute without our knowledge after our hearings concluded by the chair, Rep. Parkinson (R-St. Charles).
I also voted No on HCS HB2007 dealing the Department of Economic Development. In agreement with the majority of my caucus, I am opposed to the reduction of state inspectors who monitor child, prevailing and equal wage laws.
I also voted No on both HCS HB2010 and HCS HB2011 regarding mental health and social service budgets. I agree with Governor Nixon in that reducing funds for the blind is not acceptable.