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Leaders Defend Their Position on the Budget

The three major players gave speeches on the budget today to a packed House of Representatives. Missy Shelton reports on the raucous, emotionally charged atmosphere at the capitol.

At times, it sounded like a pep rally...Certainly not like the Missouri House of Representatives.

Hundreds of people packed the House galleries to listen to each side present their case. Democratic Governor Bob Holden defended his plan to decrease budget cuts by taxing businesses, cigarettes, and gambling. Senate President Pro Temp Peter Kinder and House Speaker Catherine Hanaway reiterated their belief that higher taxes will hurt the state during this time of economic hardship.

In her speech, Hanaway said voters are no mood to see a tax package on the ballot.

But Holden says his tax increase plan is different than the ones that went down in defeat last year.

He criticized Republicans for failing to see that.

The frustration with the governor's veto of the budget bills and being called into special session became apparent when House Speaker Hanaway made some direct comments to the governor, who wasn't in the chamber to hear them.

But the governor argues he'll be satisfied when lawmakers accept his plan to deal with the budget crunch.

Holden argued the Republicans have shown through their budget cuts that they are unwilling to help those who need it.

In the meantime, the special session continues and the House of Representatives is working on new budget bills, which reflect a slight increase in education spending...Funding from the increase comes from part of the 400 million dollars Missouri received from the federal government.

From Jefferson City, I'm Missy Shelton for KSMU News.