St. Louis Public Radio News
9:05 pm
Mon April 27, 2009

Walkout results in de-funding of cancer center

Jefferson City, MO – A walkout by Democratic lawmakers from a Missouri House committee meeting has resulted in funding being cut from a major project at the University of Missouri - Columbia.

The House Rules Committee still had a quorum following the walkout, and the remaining GOP members voted to cut $31 million from the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, which is part of the Mizzou campus.

House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) defended the move.

"I thought (that) we can take that money out, we can put it into maintenance and repair for community colleges and a few other colleges, and the gentleman from Boone (County) wasn't there to defend his campus and defend his community, and I was, and I'm there to represent my area, and that's exactly what I did," Tilley said.

The Ellis Fischel Cancer Center is in the district represented by State Representative Stephen Webber (D, Columbia).

"This was killed by the Republican Party...they voted, every single one of them...all the votes to take this out were Republican votes...if anybody has any question who is standing up for cancer victims, the Republican Party took Ellis Fischel out of the budget," Webber said.

The $31 million was redirected to the University of Missouri - St. Louis ($6.5 million), to Southeast Missouri State University ($6.5 million), and to all 13 community colleges in Missouri ($18 million).