Nixon & Administration Start Campaign to Sustain Tax Cut Veto
June 11, 2013

(AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon pressed his objections Tuesday to what he called a “risky, untested scheme” that would reduce the state’s income tax rate for the first time in more than 90 years.

Nixon vetoed the tax cut legislation last week, and on Tuesday, he urged higher education leaders to tell their state lawmakers how the tax cut could hurt their schools. He said that when fully implemented, the tax cut would cost state government $800 million, which would be the equivalent of eliminating all state support for higher education institutions.

The Democratic governor said lawmakers can either support the tax cut or higher education, but not both. He said he strongly opposes the tax measure and “will use the energy of my office to continue to talk about it.”

The income tax cut was among the Republican-led Legislature’s top priorities and was designed as a response to a similar but more sweeping tax proposal last year in neighboring Kansas. Supporters of Missouri’s tax cut called it a “responsible way to make Missouri more competitive” and have said Nixon’s veto signals the Show-Me State isn’t interested in retaining its businesses.

Two of Missouri’s leading business groups – Associated Industries of Missouri and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry – also have criticized Nixon’s veto.

Missouri lawmakers return in September to the state Capitol to decide whether to attempt to override any of Nixon’s vetoes. To override the veto of the tax legislation, every Republican House member would need to support the effort unless some of Nixon’s fellow Democrats can be persuaded.

Missouri School May Get More Money, Lawmakers Still Working on Higher Ed
April 10, 2013

(AP) — Missouri schools appear likely to get a 2 percent funding increase next year as a result of a decision Tuesday by a Senate budget panel.

The Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to provide a $66 million increase sought by Gov. Jay Nixon to the $3 billion core budget for public elementary and secondary schools. The House had previously approved a $65 million increase.

The nearly identical figures are important because, under legislative rules, House and Senate members negotiating a final version of the state budget are generally prohibited from going below or above the dollar amounts included in each chamber’s budget plan. That means schools stand a good chance of getting the proposed funding increase.

Also, the Senate panel agreed to go with Nixon’s recommended $34 million funding increase for public colleges and universities. The money would be distributed according to whether the institutions met specific performance criteria in areas such as student retention and graduation. The result is that some colleges could get as much as a 5.4 percent increase while others could get as little as a 2.2 percent bump in state funds.

The House version of the budget included a $20 million funding increase for colleges and universities but would distribute it based equal percentages, not the new performance criteria.

Nixon Adds More Money to Higher Education & Shifts Some State Programs
February 4, 2013



Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has added more than $8 million dollars to the current higher education budget for the state.
Nixon says the improving economy is responsible for the added money.
The state says they took in 18% more money in January 2013 than it did a year ago.
Nixon also says another $480,000 is now going to three foster care programs and projects that help children in need.
The state historical society is also getting an additional $100,000 for the current budget year.
Nixon also announced some program shifts Monday.
He is transferring s the Center for Emergency Response and Terrorism (CERT) from the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and assigns those responsibilities to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Another executive order, “transfers post-issuance compliance functions for tax credit and economic incentive programs from the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) and assigns those responsibilities and functions to the Department of Revenue (DOR). DED will remain the agency responsible for awarding economic and community betterment tax credits,” according to a news release.
The Division of Energy is also moving from the Department of Natural Resources to the Economic Development Department.
“Transferring the Division of Energy to the Department of Economic Development will help capitalize on these strengths and promote the development of affordable, secure, and diverse energy sources that will power our economy and create good jobs for Missourians,” Nixon said.

Missouri May Considering Linking College Funds to Performance
December 11, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ten percent of state funding for Missouri’s colleges and universities would depend on whether they can meet performance goals such as improved graduation rates, according to a plan presented Monday to state lawmakers.

It’s part of an initiative, required by state law, to develop a funding formula for higher education institutions similar to what exists for public K-12 education. Missouri’s current approach allots money based largely on how much the colleges and universities received in the past and how much the state has available for the future.

Gov. Jay Nixon is likely to recommend that performance criteria be used for a funding increase – perhaps around 1 or 2 percent – to higher education institutions in the 2014 budget, said deputy higher education commissioner Paul Wagner. But the plan prepared by staff for the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education would take a more aggressive approach.

Committee chairman, Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, described the proposed funding model as a “starting point” for continued discussions. He asked higher education officials and others to submit comments by the end of this year. The committee is not mandated by law to develop a funding formula until the end of 2013.

Under Monday’s proposal, the state would fund 35 percent of an institution’s operating costs. Of that, 90 percent would be automatic and the remaining 10 percent would depend on whether it meets specific performance goals, such as retaining students from their freshmen to sophomore years, graduating students within a certain number of years and achieving success for students on licensure exams or in job placements.

Nixon Offers Budget Plan, Have Missouri Universities Loan the State Money
December 17, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — G, Linda Luebberingov. Jay Nixon wants five of Missouri’s largest universities to consider tapping their reserves to help plug a hole in next year’s state budget and avoid deeper cuts to the state’s higher education system.

Nixon’s proposal would call for the universities to provide the state $106 million from their reserves. The state would pay that money back to those specific universities in their operating budgets for the 2013 fiscal year, the governor’s budget director, Linda Luebbering, said Friday. Over the next several years, the state then would replenish the university reserves with money diverted from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority.

The net effect of the money transfers is that the universities would shoulder the burden of the state budget cuts in the short-term but would be made whole in the long run. Luebbering described the money shifting as only an idea, not a definite plan. Nixon, a Democrat, is expected to outline his official budget proposal to lawmakers in mid-January.

Luebbering said significant cuts will be necessary for the state fiscal year that begins July 1, because revenue growth is not expected to make up for the loss of about $750 million of one-time funding sources in the current budget, including the last remnants of the federal stimulus programs.

“We’re going to have another very challenging budget year in 2013,” Luebbering said. She later added: “The global economy has just taken longer to turn around than anyone would have thought a couple years ago, and the resources have just not caught up yet.”

Under the proposal discussed by Nixon’s administration with university officials, the University of Missouri system would be asked to take $62.3 from its reserves; Missouri State University would supply $13.7 million and $10 million each would come from the reserves at the University of Central Missouri, Southeast Missouri State University and Truman State University.

The total of $106 million was intended to match the amount of money the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority already owes to the state over the next several years for a college construction program enacted during the tenure of former Gov. Matt Blunt, Luebbering said. Instead of going to buildings projects, the money would be diverted to replenish university reserves. But the loan authority hasn’t made its recent installment payments on the construction program because of its own financial concerns and because Nixon’s administration and lawmakers have instead tapped MOHELA for tens of millions of dollars to help make up for funding cuts to college scholarship programs.

State lawmakers have expressed concern both about the substance of Nixon’s proposal and the fact that they were not initially kept in the loop about it.

The general details of the proposal were first reported Thursday by the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, told the Tribune he opposes participation in the money transfers plan by Southeast Missouri State University, which is in his district.

“Exactly when did university presidents become Jay Nixon’s payday loan officers?” he asked

House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, called the plan ridiculous.

“The governor is looking for this scheme that avoids making tough decisions on cuts,” Silvey told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Rather than balance the state’s budget, he wants to dream up new revenues sources, which happen to be interest-free loans from our universities.”