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Gov. Mike Parson lays out vision for 2022 Missouri budget

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson state of the state address
Posted at 3:21 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 16:21:46-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson outlined his plans for a spending spree amid an “historic budget surplus and federal dollars coming to our state” Wednesday during his annual State of the State address in Jefferson City.

Parson announced billions in spending for a variety of programs primarily focused on workforce and economic development along with infrastructure.

Parson will ask for Missouri Fast Track to be permanently funded, propsosing $31 million for colleges and universities through the MoExcels programs, and $20 for the state’s 57 area career centers.

He also called for $470 million to fund capital-improvement projects at the state’s community colleges and four-year institutions in addition to a proposal to raise starting pay for Missouri teachers to at least $38,000.

Parson also will ask the Missouri legislature to give all state employees a 5.5% raise.

His proposed budget also calls for $975 million in new infrastructure programs — including $400 million each for water systems and broadband expansion in rural and underserved urban areas.

Parson also will ask for $10 million to expand agriculture programs and an additional $250 million in community revitalization grants along with $69 million to construct the Rock Island Trail.

He patted himself on the back for not shuttering business during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 17,000 Missouri residents, in calling for the above investments to buoy Missouri economically.

Parson proposed using $34 million for rural telehealth and telemedicine services along with $140 million earmarked for community health centers statewide to address mental health and substance-use struggles.

Finally, he asked for $11 million to upgrade the Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training academics in an effort to get more officers on Missouri’s streets and proposed setting aside 2.5% of the general revenue to allay budget cuts and provide greater flexibility during emergencies.