Long way to go for Missouri governor’s college funding increase

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob | Courtesy of Scott Fitzpatrick/Twitter
House Budget Committee vice-chairman Scott Fitzpatrick | Courtesy of Scott Fitzpatrick/Twitter

On Monday, Gov. Jay Nixon proposed a $55.7 million increase in the state budget for two- and four-year colleges and universities, but some Republican legislative budget makers are skeptical.

The proposed increase would begin on July 1, 2016 and would push performance-based state higher education funding to nearly $1 billion. The presidents of the state’s colleges and universities say they would for the fourth time since Nixon became governor, not implement a year-to-year increase in tuition. Nixon believes that tuition freezes do the economy well, as students have more money to spend after graduation.

House Budget Committee vice-chairman Scott Fitzpatrick says Nixon’s announcement could be premature. The current revenues for Fiscal Year 16, he says, aren’t promising. Additionally, Nixon’s proposal will go up against other budget priorities.

Fitzpatrick said two of the biggest challengers for a budget increase are Medicaid and K-12 education.

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