[Education and Welfare] Senate panel's budget spares higher education cuts
dhuff at moblind.org
Thu Apr 5 02:35:53 CDT 2012
Senate panel's budget spares higher education cuts
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
JEFFERSON CITY - State colleges and universities will be spared budget cuts
in the coming year, the Senate Appropriations Committee decided this
It also appeared that a program that provides health care for about 2,800
blind Missourians, cut in the House to find money for higher education, also
likely to be spared cuts.
After the committee recessed, Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said the
action locks in the budget plan approved in the Missouri House that rejected
Gov. Jay Nixon's call for a $66 million cut to higher education budgets.
"This is enormous," Schaefer said. "We just took the most devastating cut to
higher education it has ever seen, and it is over."
Restoring the blind health care funding is a top priority for Nixon. If
Schaefer wants the higher education allocations to survive Nixon's veto pen,
the blind health care would be a place to start.
The committee this morning began going over the $24 billion spending plan
for the year beginning July 1. The committee agreed to keep a $5 million
in state basic aid to public education and made additional general revenue
available by limiting a proposed pay raise for state workers to those making
$45,000 or less.
Overall, Schaefer told the committee he expects to present the Senate with a
budget that spends $40 million less in general revenue than the House
The University of Missouri, in addition to receiving the $397.9 million
allocated by the House, would receive $182,000 to perform economic modeling
state job creation programs. That work is now done in the Department of
Nixon had recommended that the university receive $367.2 million, or about
$26 million less than he allowed the school to receive from this year's
Schaefer said he and House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas
City, had "agreed public education would be a top priority, and we are
that in our actions on this budget."
As he returned to his office from the committee meeting, Schaefer was
greeted by Gretchen Maune of Columbia, who was there to ask him to restore a
cut to health care services for the blind. Maune represents the Missouri
Council for the Blind and was in the Capitol as part of a lobbying day on
of the disabled.
"Before I could say what I was doing, he said he's working on it," Maune
said, pleased that the cut is facing opposition in the Senate. "That is
a big assurance for me."
The House budget plan found money for higher education by eliminating a $28
million program that provides health care for about 2,800 blind Missourians.
The House restored $2 million, and Nixon has proposed using $17.8 million
from a federal grant program as well.
During the hearing, more conservative Republicans were rebuffed on proposed
cuts. Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, wanted to remove $100,000 used to buy
for participants in Special Olympics events. "Here we are with a $500
million hole, and we are paying for lunch," Schaaf said, referring to the
of belt-tightening measures needed to make the budget balance.
And Sen. Jim Lembke, R-St. Louis, questioned the need for a $95,000
allocation for the Midwest Higher Education Compact, which provides bulk
and other services to 130 Missouri colleges and universities.
"Do they know we are cutting health care for blind?" Lembke asked.
"Who said we are cutting health care for the blind?" Schaefer responded.
Reach Rudi Keller at 573-815-1709 or e-mail
rkeller at columbiatribune.com.
Denny Huff- President
Missouri Council of the Blind
P: (636) 262-1383
TF: (888) 362-1383
F: (314) 558-0298
Phone Cast: (816) 298-8969
DHuff at MoBlind.Org
The purpose of Missouri Council of the Blind shall be to promote the general
well-being of our members and legally blind people in Missouri, and to
or participate in other programs promoting the best interests of legally
blind people everywhere.
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE JOURNEY
Your host: Denny Huff
SUNDAY MORNINGS AT 8:00 AM CST
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