House budget committee meets, talks coronavirus funding amid pandemic

Missouri’s budget director testified Sunday in Jefferson City that he expects federal guidance early this week on what the Show-Me State can spend its coronavirus funding on.

Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, speaks during a marathon budget hearing on March 15, 2020 in Jefferson City (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

State Budget Director Dan Haug tells the House Budget Committee that Missouri is expected to receive at least $13 million in federal funding.

“Right now we do know that a portion of it (federal funding) will be passed through to the local health agencies,” Haug testifies. “We know that it can be used for for testing, laboratory services.”

Haug testified before the Budget Committee, during a marathon Sunday hearing that lasted into early Monday morning.

It’s rare for the House Budget Committee, or any legislative committee, to meet on a Sunday. House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, says the aim is for the full House to approve the state operating budget on Wednesday, with final House approval expected Thursday.

House members would then leave Jefferson City for their already-scheduled spring break, and the Missouri Capitol will be thoroughly cleaned at that time.

State health officials have confirmed Missouri’s fifth case of COVID-19, which is travel-related and involves a resident in southwest Missouri’s Greene County.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley tells Missourinet the federal funding will also go to more testing kits in Missouri.

House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, does not expect the state to have to tap into the “Rainy Day Fund” for the coronavirus. He notes the at least $13 million heading to the state is federal funding, part of an emergency $8.3 billion package signed this month by President Donald Trump.

“So we as a General Assembly are well-situated as we work through the process to be responsive to this, and we feel like the resources made available this time are a good start,” says Smith.

Lawmakers also learned Sunday that Governor Parson’s state of emergency declaration will also provide access to an additional $7 million, on top of the $13-million mark.

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