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Budget Writers Cut Medicaid, Restore Higher Ed Funding

A conference committee has agreed to keep higher education funding stagnant, instead of cutting it 5%. That news came Monday from House and Senate members who met to hammer out the differences between the two chambers on the state's budget. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports on funding for higher education and Medicaid.

The senate had approved a 5 percent cut for higher education.

Republican Senator Gary Nodler, whose district includes Joplin is the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

He says the senate never intended the cuts to stand.

Instead, he says senators had hoped to compromise with the House, which had kept higher ed funding stagnant.

Nodler says the Senate wanted a 3 percent reduction and a promise from Republican Governor Matt Blunt that he would NOT withhold 3 percent, a common technique Nodler says that governors use to balance the budget.

But that didn't happen.

While lawmakers on the budget conference committee decided NOT to cut higher education, they made a different decision about Medicaid.

The state's healthcare program for the poor and disabled will change under the proposed budget.

St Louis County Democrat Margaret Donnelly says the change won't be good for some citizens.

Just last week, people in wheelchairs protested the proposed cuts to Medicaid by chaining their wheelchairs to one set of doors leading into the House chamber