Democrats vs. Republicans in House budget cuts
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Democrats vs. Republicans in House budget cuts

Date: March 11, 2009
By: Nathan Higgins
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: House Budget Committee Republicans and Democrats clashed over state budget cuts in a day-long marathon meeting.

Nathan Higgins has more from the State Capitol.

OutCue: SOC

Republicans had a strong voice in adopting amendments that would limit how the state can use federal stimulus money.

Columbia Democrat Representative Chris Kelly said the amendments and the hearing are making Democrats frustrated.


Actuality:  KELLY2.WAV
Run Time: 00:12
Description: "There would like to see a little bit more commitment to health, and jobs, and education, and a little less violating of the rules. But, you know, we're making progress."

Kelly said St. Louis Republican Chairman Allen Icet broke the rules by not taking the amendments out of committee.

Republican Representative Mark Bruns said Democrats just misinterpreted the rules.

From the State Capitol, I'm Nathan Higgins, Newsradio 1120 KMOX.

Intro: One Representative says the House Budget Chairman misused his power during a day-long hearing Wednesday.

Nathan Higgins has more from the State Capitol.

OutCue: SOC

Democrats disagreed with Republicans over which programs and issues should face budget cuts.

Democratic Representative Belinda Harris said St. Louis Republican Chairman Allen Icet has too much power and control in committee hearings.

Harris said at times Icet favored yes votes over no votes when the no votes were louder.

Harris also said Icet has too much influence.

Actuality:  HARRIS8.WAV
Run Time: 00:10
Description: "If you will listen just before the amendment is ready to go for a vote, he says I'm in favor of the amendment. That is a pretty good key that the amendment is going to make it."

While neither party is in favor of the cuts, both agreed they are necessary.

From the State Capitol, I'm Nathan Higgins, Newradio 1120 KMOX.

Intro: Partisan debates over Governor Jay Nixon's requested budget kept House Budget committee members arguing all day long Wednesday.

Nathan Higgins has more from Jefferson City.

OutCue: SOC

Representatives discussed 120 amendments to budget cuts and how to use federal stimulus money.

Republican Representative Mark Bruns says the committee made some painful cuts, but Missouri services will be maintained.

The State isn't adding any money to the budget, but just transferring funds and making cuts.

Bruns says these cuts are the best option.


Actuality:  BRUNS.WAV
Run Time: 00:15
Description: "The only other option we really have would be to raise taxes significantly. And I just don't think that's an option right now. Families are being stretched to the limit with their budget so everyone needs to tighten their belt."

In addition to the budget cuts debate, Representatives argued how to use stimulus money.

Republicans say the money should be used for one time investments like highways, infrastructure, capital, and technology upgrades.

Actuality:  BRUNS2.WAV
Run Time: 00:21
Description: "If I would win ten-thousand dollars in the lottery and then go out and buy a new bass boat, and a new camper, and a new truck and put all that on payments over five years, I'd be able to make the payments this year since I won the lottery. Next year that lottery money isn't there. That's the same way I look at the federal stimulus dollars."

However, Columbia Democrat Chris Kelly says the money should be used for bigger issues like health care, jobs, and education.

Legislators say they want to move the bill to the House floor before legislative spring break Thursday.

However, they say it's more likely to hit the floor March 23rd when the legislators return.

From the State Capitol, I'm Nathan Higgins, Newsradio 11-20 KMOX.