Nixon restricts funding for higher education, other programs in light of budget shortfall

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Gov. Jay Nixon (Official photo)
Missouri News Horizon

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon has slashed nearly $15 million from the budget approved by lawmakers this year because he believes it to be $50 million out of balance.

The $15 million will come from more than two dozen restrictions announced Friday, including nearly $8.8 million from higher education, a 1 percent reduction from the legislature’s bill.

This marks the third straight year Nixon has restricted funds from higher education in an attempt to balance the state’s budget.

“We’re beginning to see the kind of turnaround. If it continues, it will provide additional resources for the state,” he said.

Nixon made the announcement while signing the state’s $24 billion budget into law. He was critical of the legislature for relying on a significant increase in lottery funds, despite the fact that his administration had provided lottery funding increase estimates to lawmakers during their budgeting process.

“When you get to the end of the process,” Nixon said, “you make the decisions based on the best information available. In this situation, there is pretty much general consensus that that is a very rosy estimate.”

The governor’s office said that if more revenue comes available in the coming year, the additional $35 million he believes the budget is out of balance may not need to be touched.

Nixon is using his line item veto power to reject three measures that cost the state a total of $240,000, including funding for a new early childhood education program, port financial assistance, and legal fees for Boone County. State Budget Director Linda Lueberring said her office is targeting new and expanded programs first with their cuts.