June 27, 2014

State Issues

Governor takes action on FY15 budget

Governor Jay Nixon announced his decisions on the FY 2015 budget on June 24. Across all of the budget bills, he vetoed $144.6 million in general revenue funding and restricted $641.6 million for a total of $786.2 million of general revenue. A number of vetoes or restrictions dealt with items in HB 2003, the higher education funding bill.

Expenditure restrictions (or withholds) were imposed for the following notable items. The Governor indicated that the restrictions will be in effect until funds become available:

  • $43.3 million from 2- and 4-year higher education institutions, to be distributed according to institutional performance measures. For UM, this is the anticipated 5.2% core increase in operating funds.
  • $4 million from the Bright Flight scholarship program;
  • $12 million from the Access Missouri scholarship program; and
  • $10 million from the MU School of Medicine partnership with CoxHealth and Mercy health systems in Springfield.

The Governor announced the following notable items were vetoed. Most of the items represented new funding, with a few exceptions, which are noted as recurring:

  • $6 million for community college equity funding;
  • $1.4 million for UMSL equity funding;
  • $1.5 million for the MU Telehealth Project ECHO program;
  • $300,000 for the UMSL international collaboration with Israel;
  • $5.1 million of the recurring appropriation for the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon;
  • $500,000 for the UMKC Centers for Neighborhood initiative;
  • $3 million for MORENet to increase broadband capacity at K-12 schools;
  • $1 million in recurring appropriations for the Missouri Federal and State Partnership program, or MOFAST. Funding for this program was contained in both HB 2003 which funds higher education, and HB 2007 which funds the Department of Economic Development;
  • $483,250 for the State Historical Society; and
  • $620,000 for MU psychiatric residencies. Funding for this item was contained in HB 2010, which funds the Department of Mental Health

Action was also taken on the capital appropriations bill, HB 2021. Funding for the following 50/50 capital match projects was restricted, noting that the restriction applies until funding becomes available:

  • $7.4 million for the UMKC Free Enterprise Center;
  • $10 million for the UMSL College of Business Administration building;
  • $1.2 million for the Missouri S&T Experimental Mine building;
  • $10 million for the MU College of Business Applied Learning center;
  • The additional 50/50 capital match projects funded with general revenue at other higher education institutions across the state.

The Governor also restricted $10 million appropriated in HB 2021 for an initial bond payment, based on the passage of SB 723, which increased the cap on the amount of revenue bonds the state can issue. Four other UM-related projects funded out of that bond plan were also restricted:

  • $8 million to the University of Missouri for a business incubator at Cortex in St. Louis;
  • $38.5 million for MU’s Lafferre Hall;
  • $25 million for a new State Historical Society building; and
  • $19 million for the UMKC School of Medicine building.

Funding for the following capital improvement projects was vetoed. All of these projects would have been funded through either surplus revenue or bonding, rather than general revenue:

  • $2.7 million for the MU Fine and Performing Arts facility
  • $1.5 million for the MU Teaching and Research winery
  • The additional capital projects at other higher education institutions across the state

In his statement, the Governor indicated that some expenditure restrictions may be released after the annual veto session on September 10, if his vetoes of a number of tax bills are not overridden.  Should that occur, he indicated that education funding would be a first priority for the release of restricted funds.

To read the Governor’s press release, go here: https://governor.mo.gov/news/archive/gov-nixon-takes-action-balance-fiscal-year-2015-budget

To see a detailed chart of the budget restrictions and vetoes, go here: http://content.oa.mo.gov/sites/default/files/June%202014%20Budget%20Actions.pdf

Governor signs higher education omnibus bill

On June 19, Governor Nixon signed SB 492, which codifies a resource allocation model for public higher education institutions. The model suggests future funding based in part on performance and institutional mission.

The Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE), which represents public four-year institutions in the state, developed a funding allocation model several years ago that served as a basis for the legislation, which was sponsored by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg). Part of new funding in the future will be based on meeting performance measures. Lawmakers also added language requesting that institutions track whether graduates receive jobs related to their degree.

The omnibus bill also establishes the Missouri Advisory Board for Educator Preparation to advise the State Board of Education and the Coordinating Board for Higher Education on the quality of teacher education programs.

Attorney General visits Missouri S&T and UMSL

Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader hosted Attorney General Chris Koster for a tour and visit on May 14. Koster toured the High-Bay Structures Lab with Dr. Kamal Khayat, the Vernon and Maralee Jones Chair of Civil Engineering. Dr. Khayat explained how he and other researchers develop new materials for sustainable highway and bridge infrastructure. Koster also joined mechanical engineering students to tour the Advanced Manufacturing Lab in Toomey Hall, with Dr. Frank Liou, Director of the Manufacturing and Engineering program.

On May 22, Koster received an up-close look at the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus during a half-day visit with Chancellor Tom George. The two discussed educational policy and toured campus facilities, both old and new, including stops at the Provincial House on the South Campus, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, and the site of The Recreation and Wellness Center which is currently under construction on the North Campus.

The campus tours are part of AG Koster’s efforts to visit higher education institutions across the state.

Sam O'Keefe/Missouri S&T Sam O'Keefe/Missouri S&T George-Koster George-Koster-Leifeld
Top left: Dr. Kamal Khayat shows Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster around the Missouri S&T High-Bay Structures Lab in the Butler-Carlton Civil Engineering building.
Top right:  Koster visits with Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader during his May 14 visit and tour of the S&T campus.  

Bottom left: Chancellor Tom George, Koster on UMSL walking path with Millennium Student Center in the background and the new Wellness and Recreation Center under construction.
Bottom right: George, Koster and Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Martin Leifeld at the Chancellor’s Residence at UMSL.

Federal Relations

MU hosts alumni reception in DC

The University of Missouri hosted a reception to introduce Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin to alumni in the Washington D.C. area on June 25. More than one hundred and fifty alumni and friends attended the event, held in the Capitol Visitors Center.  Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and  Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) were among those who attended the event to celebrate MU’s 175th anniversary.

blunt-mccaskill-loftin-heinrich-heinrich

(From left): Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Claire McCaskill (BA ’75, JD ’78), MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, Julie Heinrich (BA ’93), Senator Martin Heinrich (BS ’95) at the University of Missouri reception on June 25.

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