Missouri lawmakers seek sure funding for disabled children’s program

Missouri lawmakers plan to come up with a new funding source this week for a program that serves developmentally disabled children.

The budget passed last week by the Legislature would make about $20 million of funding for the First Steps program contingent on repealing a tax break for low-income seniors and disabled people who live in rental housing.

But Gov. Jay Nixon and some lawmakers don’t like that trade-off. Nixon has called it “both irresponsible and unnecessary.”

House and Senate leaders plan to work with Nixon’s administration during this final week of the session to devise another way to fund the First Steps program.

Missouri education officials say the program serves more than 5,000 children from birth to age 3 who have disabilities or developmental delays.