Governor Greitens (R) says Missouri’s budget is being drained by special interest tax credits and the faster-than-projected growth in healthcare spending, partially from Obamacare. Greitens is withholding more than $146 million in the current state budget.
“I’m protecting our priorities, like K-12 education and public safety. For instance, not a single penny will be coming out of K-12 classrooms,” says Greitens. “The fact is, more hard choices lie ahead. But as Missourians, I believe we must come together, tighten our belts, be smart and wise with our tax dollars, and work our way out of this hole by bringing more jobs with higher pay to the people of Missouri
House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) doesn’t agree with Greitens restricting $8.6 million in elementary and secondary education busing expenses. She says the move will have far-reaching effects.
“Our districts where we have seen some improvement, and if dollars are going to have to be diverted to make up that shortfall, that could hamper our districts continuing on the course of improvement,” says Beatty. “If they’ve got to cut from transportation, that money has got to be made up somewhere because we have to the kids to school. So, it’s going to ultimately have to impact the classrooms.”
Other budget withholdings from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education include $2 million in performance-based assessments, $181,000 for scholars and fine arts academies, $50,000 for training grants and $44,500 for a new dyslexia training program.
Beatty argues that $90 million of the governor’s $146 million in budget restrictions are in education spending – mostly higher education.
“Weakening public education won’t grow Missouri’s economy or create jobs,” says Beatty.
Beatty agrees with Greitens that Missouri has given too many special interests tax breaks. As a result, she says vital services have been cut.