Missouri’s four-year colleges and universities will by far receive the biggest blow of Republican Governor Eric Greitens’ $146.4 million in additional spending restrictions announced Monday. About $56 million will be slashed from core funding for four-year institutions. Missouri’s community colleges are next in line with nearly $12 million in core funding restrictions. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s transportation budget will be hit with $8.6 million in withholds.
In a social media video accompanying the announcement, Greitens says “Not a single penny will be taken out of K-12 classrooms.”
“The restrictions announced include no cuts to the Foundation Formula that funds K-12 classroom education. There were no cuts to programs essential to public safety, and all of the state’s pension and health care obligations will also be honored. The restrictions were targeted, to the extent possible, at rolling back earmarks, new spending items, programs with no established track record of success, and services that are duplicated elsewhere in government,” says Greitens.
Then-Governor Jay Nixon (D) restricted about $200 million in the current fiscal year’s budget.
In a statement from Greitens, he says Missouri’s budget is suffering from reduced revenue due to poor economic growth. He says that revenue is being drained by special interest tax credits and the faster-than-projected growth in healthcare expenditures, driven in part by the national impact of Obamacare.
In a tweet today from State Rep. Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City), she criticized Republicans:
Gotta “budget is unbalanced and they’ve been raising your taxes for yrs” arg when supermaj repubs have written budget and tax law for yrs https://t.co/6rVxiU4CRj
— Lauren Arthur (@RepLaurenArthur) January 16, 2017
Greitens says during the next 18 months, more than $700 million in budget cuts will be necessary just to make the budget balance and retain Missouri’s AAA credit rating.
Additional details on the spending restrictions are linked here.
Governor Greitens will hold Tuesday his first State of the State address. The speech is traditionally when the Governor releases the state budget proposal, but Greitens plans to wait until February to unveil his budget requests.