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.