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Nixon Cuts $22 Million In Education Funding, Says GOP Lawmakers Forced His Hand

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Because of a dispute over how much money to put in this year's supplemental budget, Gov. Jay Nixon has cut $22 million from public schools and higher education.  

Nixon, a Democrat, announced Thursday that he's cutting $15.6 million from the current budget for K-12 schools, $3.2 million from community colleges, and $3.2 million from four-year institutions. 

He says he asked lawmakers for $44.1 million in additional funding for education in this year's supplemental budget (HB 2014) to make up for declining revenue from lottery sales and casinos.  But the Republican-led General Assembly provided only half of that amount for the current school year.  The governor told reporters at the Capitol that GOP leaders have left him no choice.

"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," Nixon said.

The governor also wants lawmakers to make up the difference in next year's state budget.

"While it is too late to fix this problem for the current fiscal year, I call on legislators to right this wrong by including that additional funding in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget to make up for this loss," Nixon said.  "That budget is under consideration as we speak."

The 13 bills making up the state budget are currently in the hands of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Nixon also criticized that committee for cutting $4.6 million from the Department of Social Services' budget that was earmarked for case worker expenses within the Children's Division.

In response, House Budget Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, says the governor's cuts were unnecessary.

"We did put $22 million extra into the (K-12) foundation formula for the next (fiscal) year," Stream said.  "He really did a disservice to the community colleges in that withhold, because it basically was a 2.2 percent decrease to their funding line, whereas for four-year institutions it was just a 0.3 percent decrease."

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.