Columbia Legislators Applaud Reduced Higher Ed. Cut

Related Story

JEFFERSON CITY - Mid-Missouri legislators said Wednesday they are glad the governor has plans to reduce the proposed budget cuts to higher education.  But those lawmakers said the cuts are still significant.

Late Tuesday, the governor amended his 2013 budget proposal by softening the proposed cuts to higher education by $40 million. The change came based on expected revenue from a pending settlement with the nation's top five mortgage companies over foreclosure practices.

Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said he thinks the reduction is a really good start and that the higher education community should be proud of itself for speaking directly with him about it.

Kelly also said the state is failing higher education and has been failing it for years. "When higher education looks after itself the political community then has no business being critical of them," Kelly said.

"This $40 million is wonderful but it's tiny compared to the need," Kelly said.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said he thinks this was a good move on the governor's part, but he's still concerned because this reduction involves using one-time money. He says the higher education budget suffers from a systematic problem that needs a long term solution. "There's some concern about basically reducing the governor's proposed cut with one-time $40 million because essentially you'll be right back where you are next year," Schaefer said.

According to the state constitution, the senate must pass the 2013 budget by May 11 this year.

Nixon will meet with the presidents and chancellors of the state's two and four-year colleges and universities on Thursday to brief them on the budget amendment.