It wasn’t their deal and they haven’t been hesitant in making sure everyone knows that, but state senators have found a method to uphold a deal with the

state college officials anyway.

The deal was struck by Gov. Nixon. In exchange for a budget cut of approximately 5%, four-year universities and two-year colleges would hold the line on tuition; a modest budget cut and no tuition hikes. The Senate Appropriations Committee broke the deal, cutting $14.7 million

deeper. The full Senate has restored the money.

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Republican from Columbia, tells colleagues it might be right to uphold

the deal, but prudent to let college officials know that might not happen


“But I think what we need to send is a message to those institution s as well,” Schaefer tells colleagues. “The next time you cut a deal you better include everybody who’s part of the equation.”

The committee made the cut as part of its effort to reduce the budget submitted

by the governor by $500 million.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) says he had no input on making the deal.

“I know that the governor made an agreement with the higher ed community and certainly I was not a part of that, didn’t learn about it until I think about 15 minutes after the news conference,” Mayer tells the Senate. “And I guess that negotiation took place, what, back in October or November of last year?”

Mayer has proposed that the restoration be paid for by removing a exemption from the two percent insurance premium tax enjoyed by managed care providers.

That move is expected to raise $20 million annually. The Senate has approved and returned to the House a $23 billion state spending plan that is $450 million leaner than the budget submitted by Gov. Nixon in January.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]