JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Days after being released from isolation, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson gave an economic and budget update, saying he plans to release millions of dollars to services like education.
Parson started his Wednesday press briefing by noting he and his wife, Teresa Parson, are blessed to be among the thousands of people who have recovered from COVID-19. The couple tested positive for the virus two weeks ago.
“It’s great to be back in the Capitol,” Parson said. “Teresa and I both returned to our regular schedules Monday.”
The governor said he, his wife and four staffers have recovered from COVID-19.
“We are also thankful that all my staff are back and healthy,” Parson said.
With the governor and his staff in good health, he shared good news with Missourians.
“Today I am happy to announce over $133 million to support critical services in several areas, including nearly $95 million in CARES Act funding and $40 million in general revenue,” Parson said.
Nearly $100 million of that money is going to the state’s education system, with more than $61.5 million in CARES Act funds for K-12 schools, the governor said.
“These funds will be dispersed to school districts through DESE through the foundation formula,” Parson said. Additionally, “$26 million in general revenue will go to higher education, as well as $10 million in CARES Act for private colleges and universities.”
The remainder of the CARES Act and general revenue funds will support areas like assisted living, child care providers, independent living centers, senior citizens, building infrastructure and serving military communities.
Parson said he’s still planning for lawmakers to return to the Capitol for a special session to discuss the budget but did not say when it could happen.
The governor said also spoke about the state’s plan for a COVID vaccine.
“Our multi-agency support team is finalizing our distribution plan that will be released next week,” Parson said.
Parson also mentioned the state’s unemployment rate during Wednesday’s briefing. He said Missouri anticipated its rate to be higher than 16% at this point. It’s currently at 7%, which is lower than the national average.
The governor also addressed some more controversial news in Missouri.
Just 24 hours after Mark and Patricia McCloskey were indicted on weapon and tampering charges for pointing guns at protestors back in June, Parson said he still plans to pardon the St. Louis couple if they are convicted of the crimes.
“Most certainly would,” Parson said. “We will let it play out and see how this all comes out in the courts, but I stand by what I said.”