Budget concerns are being raised over funding of the Caring for Missourians program, which aims to expand health care educational opportunities at the state’s four-year and two-year colleges and universities. Those concerns were expressed by Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder (R-MO) and Missouri House Budget Chairman Allen Icet (R-Wildwood) during a Monday afternoon media conference call.
"We are not against this program," said Kinder. "I supported it when Governor Blunt rolled it out and support it now. Rather, we want the universities to be keenly aware that these funds may not be available next year to continue the ongoing program."
Those thoughts were echoed by Representative Icet, who made clear his view Missouri and the country are not out of the economic doldrums.
"It is not a good time to create a new program, said Icet. "It’s not a good time to use one-time funds to create an ongoing program because for 2010 and beyond I think the state will face some significant challenges. So, really, it’s time to batten down the hatches now and get us through this storm."
Governor Jay Nixon has suggested the Caring for Missourians program would benefit the state buy training people for health care opportunities. Close to $40-million was put into the budget to to go colleges and universities, with the understanding that money could be used for Caring for Missourians.
Lieutenant Governor Kinder suggested, during the conference call, that Nixon might "forcing" universities into the program, though the Lieutenant Governor offered no proof for that.