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Gov. Nixon calls on General Assembly to restore $22 million cut - KOAM TV 7

Gov. Nixon calls on General Assembly to restore $22 million cut from K-12 and higher education

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NEWS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF MISSOURI GOVERNOR JAY NIXON

Gov. Nixon calls on General Assembly to restore $22 million cut from K-12 and higher education

Despite clear and repeated warnings, the General Assembly’s Fiscal Year 2014 supplemental budget failed to make up for shortfall in lottery and gaming revenues

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After the General Assembly failed to heed the administration’s repeated warnings about the need to make up for shortfalls in lottery and gaming revenues, Gov. Jay Nixon today called on legislators to restore $22 million for K-12 and higher education in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The Governor also questioned the Senate Appropriations Committee’s decision to zero out funding to help prevent child abuse and neglect during consideration of the budget earlier this week.

“This $22 million cut to our K-12 classrooms and higher education institutions is an unnecessary and entirely avoidable consequence of the General Assembly’s failure to include the funding that I repeatedly requested,” Gov. Nixon said. “These are real cuts that will affect all Missouri students, even though there is sufficient general revenue available right now to cover the shortfall and make our schools and higher education institutions whole. That is why, while it is too late to fix this problem for the current fiscal year, I call on legislators to right this wrong by including additional funding to make up for this loss in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget.”

Gov. Nixon’s Fiscal Year 2014 supplemental budget request included $44.1 million in general revenue to make up for lower-than-expected revenues from riverboat gaming, lottery and other sources dedicated to education. Even though the Governor and State Budget Director Linda Luebbering repeatedly communicated with members of the House and Senate about the need to include this funding, the supplemental budget passed by the General Assembly this week includes only half, or $22 million, of this request. The Governor announced that he would allocate the funding shortfall in the following manner: $3.2 million from community colleges, $3.2 million from four-year institutions and $15.6 million from the K-12 foundation formula.

The Governor today also raised concerns about the Senate Appropriations Committee’s action to zero out $4.6 million in funding to help the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.

The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget included more than $4.6 million to upgrade technology for children’s service investigators and case workers, establish a loan forgiveness program to help recruit and retain qualified staff, and create a career ladder so that workers who stay on with the organization can increase their responsibilities and compensation.

“I appreciate members of the House for recognizing the importance of this issue and including this critical funding in their version of the budget,” Gov. Nixon said. “Unfortunately, the Senate Appropriations Committee -- just hours after adding $33 million for a new State Historical Society building -- decided to zero out these resources, with no explanation, during markup earlier this week. It’s often said that budgets are about priorities, and a budget that cuts funding to keep abused children safe, but adds funding to build a brand new government building – does not reflect our priorities or our values as Missourians.”

The day before zeroing out the $4.6 million for the Children’s Division, the Senate Appropriations Committee added $33 million for a new building for the Missouri State Historical Society.

A copy of Gov. Nixon’s February 10 to each member of the House of Representatives regarding the Fiscal Year 2014 supplemental budget is available here.

A copy of State Budget Director Linda Luebbering’s March 10 letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee is available here.

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