Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $5 million withheld from this year’s K-12 and Higher Education budgets.
The Nixon Administration says $3 million of the withheld funding will help keep school buses on the road, while just over $2 million will go toward universities and community colleges. Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the move was made because state lottery sales have been better than expected.
The campus of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, says he does not intend to follow Gov. Nixon's recommendation of a 12.5 percent cut to higher education institutions in the state.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said Wednesday he does not intend to follow Nixon's recommendation. The Columbia Republican says the cut would be a huge blow to higher education.
Missouri lawmakers will be trying to plug a half-billion-dollar gap in next year's budget when they convene their 2012 session on Wednesday.
State budget director Linda Luebbering says much of the hole is due to a reduction in federal money, such as stimulus funds and Medicaid payments. However, State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) suggests that that number is not set in stone.
“There are predictions anywhere from $400 to $900 million, (that could) be our shortfall for this upcoming year," Pearce said. "How do you fill that? It’s gonna be tough.”
A GOP state lawmaker wants colleagues to consider tapping the rainy day fund to pay for disaster relief, including from the May 22 tornado in Joplin. Damage from that tornado is pictured here on May 24.
Two bills have been filed in the Missouri House regarding the use of the state’s so-called Rainy Day fund.
The first would authorize $150 million to be used to match FEMA expenditures on tornado and flood damage across the state. The second bill would set up a joint House-Senate committee to oversee the use of Rainy Day funds for natural disasters.