GOP lawmakers prep for September override session - KOAM TV 7

GOP lawmakers prep for September override session

GOP lawmakers are preparing for the September veto override session.

Governor Jay Nixon withheld or vetoed more than $1 billion from the legislature's 2015 budget. 

There are 90 line item vetoes in the budget, many of which lawmakers hope to override, including $450,000 from the Missouri Rx program, which provides funding assistance in paying for prescription drugs.

"It's really very common," said Chad Isaacs, owner of Stone's Corner Pharmacy.  "A lot of patients qualify currently for the program and it especially helps them when they get into the donut or the gap stage of Medicare.  Medications can be very expensive, so the Missouri Rx is cutting that cost in half, which helps a lot of people out."

"Nixon vetoed an increase, so any new person that is over a certain age will not be able to get that assistance," said state representative Charlie Davis, District 128.

The line item withholdings have also impacted the 22 independent living centers in the state, which some say have been under funded since 2009.

"Right now, we're limited in the amount of services that we can provide," said Chip Hailey, public policy advocate for the Independent Living Center in Joplin.

Nearly $580,000 was cut from independent living centers, which Hailey says would go to things like job development, transportation and home modification, such as wheel chair ramps.

"If we had that funding, not only would we be able to increase the services and be able to provide more services to more consumers, but also just simply be able to maintain the services that we already provide," Hailey said.

Nixon says the withholdings are an attempt to cover budget shortfalls.

Other areas receiving cuts include $4 million from the Missouri Preschool Program, $43 million from Higher Education Performance Funding and $5 million to the Bright Flight Program, which provides college scholarships to those in need.

All areas that have received cuts must now wait to see the turnout of the upcoming override session.

"The governor's responsibility, his judiciary responsibility, is to balance the budget and he has to try to make the decision of where is the best place to cut," Davis said.  "I would like to see him cut across the board, a little bit from everybody, because if everybody cuts a little bit, then nobody is harmed so much."

Even if some vetoes are overridden next month, Nixon could still withhold some of that funding.

However, lawmakers hope he will release portions of the funding as revenues increase.

To view the other line item vetoes in the budget, click here. Budget Vetoes and Withholds.

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