Nixon slashes higher education budget but doesn't want tuition raised

Jan 23, 2012

The governor wants to cut the state’s Higher Education budget by nearly 106 million dollars, or 12.5%.

During his address last Tuesday he indicated that he wants universities to leave tuition levels where they are:

“By the next decade," said Nixon, "nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the United States will require some kind of post-secondary education.  That means more Missouri kids will need a college degree, but too many families simply can’t afford the cost of a college education.”

Tuition hikes in Missouri are limited by law to the annual inflation rate, unless an institution gets permission from the state’s Higher Education Commissioner to raise it beyond that amount.  Last year, Governor Nixon withheld money from universities that he felt excessively raised tuition.  

Balancing the Budget

Governor Jay Nixon has highlighted that his proposed $23 billion budget includes no new taxes. But it does assume Missouri will take in tens of millions of dollars in new revenues that are dependent on legislative action.

For instance, Missouri lawmakers must create an amnesty period intended to entice tax scofflaws to pay up. They must authorize the federal government to deduct payments from businesses who owe Missouri money. They must raise fees charged to casinos. And finally, lawmakers must agree to pour more money into promoting the Missouri Lottery in the hopes that more people will buy tickets.  If lawmakers don't take these actions, Nixon's budget won't be balanced.

Nixon says he is confident lawmakers can pass the revenue enhancements. But Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer says he doubts they will all pass.