Extraordinary times are calling for another extraordinary session. The Legislature has been called back to Jefferson City to provide additional funding in the state’s fight against COVID-19.
Last spring, when the pandemic had only just started, the federal government put together an emergency spending package, known as the CARES Act. This money was distributed to states for the purposes of assisting cities, counties and other municipalities with challenges presented by the virus. While there has been some criticism over why some of Missouri’s share of this funding had gone untouched, I believe this federal funding was not designed to be given to cities, counties and other municipalities in an instant, but distributed over time. In this pandemic, we have to not only take care of our immediate needs, but we also have to look ahead and be prepared for what could happen next. This is what we have done in the Show-Me State.
During this second extra session, the General Assembly will be looking to allocate more than $1.2 billion in additional funding, with most of it coming from the federal government. My colleagues and I will develop a plan that will add these dollars to the current Fiscal Year 2021 budget, in a supplemental spending plan. Supplemental budgeting is common in Missouri, and part of how we can maintain a balanced budget. We still have a lot of people who are reeling from this pandemic. We will work to get these needed dollars where they need to be, and still maintain the fiscal oversight we have always had in Missouri.
I am also proud to announce I have been elected by my peers to continue my role as majority caucus chair in the Missouri Senate. I enjoy being a part of the leadership team and working with my colleagues more closely on a day-to-day basis. I have had the honor of holding this title for the past two years, and look forward to another two years of helping keep a steady course for our state. I thank my fellow senators for trusting in me to do the right thing.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.