State lawmakers returned to Jefferson City this week to start the second half of the legislative session, which is expected to be heavy in budget discussions.

The House gave final approval to the state’s $23.2 billion budget Wednesday.  Those on the other side of the legislative branch get their turn to review next year’s spending plan.  Senator Bill Stouffer says the issue is much deeper.

Senator Stouffer

The budget is down about $700 million from last fiscal year’s spending plan with most of the cuts due to slow revenue growth and the drying up of several federal stimulus funding streams.  Stouffer expects the budget to hit the floor in about a week.

Senator Stouffer

The House and Senate must pass the same state budget by May 6th.