Missouri Higher Education May See Budget Cuts

Published 06/28 2013 07:49PM

Updated 06/28 2013 08:00PM

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and the Missouri legislature are in a show down about a bill that would cut income tax rates for workers in Missouri.

Governor Nixon vetoed House Bill 253, calling it fiscally irresponsible. If the legislature overturns the bill, he says he will have no choice but to make cuts to higher education.

House Speaker Tim Jones calls Nixon's move on budget cuts a politically motivated stunt.

Ozark Technical Community College President Hal Higdon says higher education leaders were taken aback by the announcement from the governor today.

"We're kind of caught in the middle," says Higdon. "The legislature passed an income tax cut that the governor has vetoed and so the governor in anticipation that the veto might be overridden anticipates a 400 million dollar gap in the budget for next year."

Right now, there is already little room to breath, says Higdon.

"Which will cut Missouri State, OTC, Mizzou, all of us 4 percent of a very, very lean budget," says Higdon.

The people in higher education are hoping the legislature will allow the governor's veto to stand.

"If the legislature does not override his veto, then we will get the money that will be September," says Higdon. "So it's a little scary for us. We're forty seven in the nation in higher education funding. If they override the veto, we lose 4 percent of our budget."

For them, 4 percent is about $400,000.

"We absolutely plan to try to override the governor's veto," says Eric Burlison, Greene County's republican representative in the House. "You know most bureaucrats and politicians, all they care bout is the budget of government. But, I feel, and many of my colleagues feel, that the budget of taxpayers and what incomes they have, many people don't have a job, that's what's most important."

Higher education should not pay the price, says Burlison.

"Now, whether or not this will create cost cuts to education is absurd on its face considering that this bill, and the cuts within that bill, will only take effect if and when the Missouri revenue exceeds 100 million dollars from prior years," says Burlison. "So, we will only make cuts if we get more money."

Nixon Holds Small Part of State Funding


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