HEADLINES : Missouri
Missouri lawmakers reach budget agreement
JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri lawmakers appear to have reached a deal on the state budget, breaking an impasse that threatened to bust this week's deadline.
Negotiators who have been working through differences in House and Senate plans for the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 approved a $24 billion compromise Wednesday afternoon. The budget needs another vote in each chamber, but lawmakers appear to be on track to meet Friday's constitutional deadline.
Among the key decisions in the compromise spending plan:
• A health care program for blind Missourians will receive most of its funding from the state budget.
• Seven universities will split a $3 million boost to higher education funding.
• Missouri's seven veterans homes will be funded primarily through the state's casino entrance fee.
• Most state employees will receive 2 percent raises in the coming year.