Lawmakers Still Arguing Over MOHELA
Some House Appropriations Committee members criticized Gov. Blunt's Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative Fund on Tuesday. The fund would pay for construction and maintenance at state universities and colleges to promote life science research and development.
Committee Republicans said selling part of MOHELA will pay for the governor's proposal, but Democrats don't buy that argument.
"We do not have the money, until the sale occurs, until a sale occurs of some great state asset," complained Democratic Rep. Barbara Fraser of St. Louis.
"We're appropriating money that we don't even have a sale of," added Democratic Rep.Wes Shoemyer of Clarence. "And, if the folks out here in the audience in front of us did business as this budget committee is doing business, we'd string 'em up on a rope."
Democrats also questioned if lawmakers could legally sell part of MOHELA.
"It's almost insulting to my intelligence that I'm supposed to take someone's word for it that everything's cool," added Shoemyer.
But, Blunt's supporters said the anticipated funding is crucial.
"I think it's very critically important, that we're going to lose companies who've agreed to come here or who are thinking about this," said community college president Terry Barnes. "And we're going to be beat out by other states across the nation who are ready, willing and able, and have money on the table, to promote and advance research in the life sciences."
Rep. Fraser also noted during the debate that Blunt received $1,200 in campaign contributions from Sallie Mae, the private loan company that might buy part of MOHELA.