More than $3-billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding is sitting on Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s (R) desk, after the House approved the measure Friday on a bipartisan 114-16 vote.
House Budget Committee Chair Cody Smith (R-Carthage) says it invests heavily in health care infrastructure, a priority for both parties.
“These are our FQHC’s, CCBHO’s, and those types of facilities. Hospitals, different types of providers that we are helping them with their capital improvement projects with their respective facilities in order to serve people better,” Smith says.
FQHC’s are federally qualified health centers, and CCBHO’s are certified community behavioral health organizations.
Chairman Smith says the ARPA money will help bring the state into the 21st century in IT. Lawmakers have held hearings on the state’s outdated computer systems, and learned some departments are still working with COBOL, a 60-year-old program. Smith told House members on Friday that a floor discussion about an unrelated bill highlighted the need for better computer infrastructure.
“And that conversation we had (on the House floor) recently moments ago about the Department of Revenue and their inability to project to us exactly how that tax cut might work for respective taxpayers I think is a good indication that we are not as technologically capable as we like to think we are,” says Smith.
ARPA was signed into law by President Joe Biden (D).