Committee hears bonding resolution
The House Appropriations – Infrastructure and Job Creation committee, chaired by Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), met on February 5 to hear testimony on a bonding proposal. House Joint Resolution 14 is sponsored by Speaker of the House Tim Jones (R-Eureka) and co-sponsored by Rep. Kelly and 78 other members from both sides of the aisle.
The resolution, if approved by voters in November 2014, would authorize the issuance of up to $950 million in bonds for the construction, renovation, and rebuilding of state-owned and higher education-related capital projects. No more than $250 million of the proceeds may be allocated to projects unrelated to higher education and $40 million of this amount must be allocated to the maintenance of state parks and park facilities. Fifteen percent of the total amount higher education receives must be dedicated to public community colleges.
University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe testified in favor of the resolution, along with a number of other supporters from higher education, business, labor, and from chambers of commerce throughout the state. In his testimony, President Wolfe noted that a capital investment by the state “will allow us to create jobs now — the Benton/Stadler renovation at UMSL, for example, is expected to create 1,100 jobs — for construction workers, electricians and the like. UMKC’s medical school project is expected to create 1,280 jobs. But with this investment, we can also create the jobs of the future… especially in key STEM areas— we will need engineers, researchers, chemists and nuclear scientists. And we can’t prepare this workforce when our buildings are crumbling around them.”
An identical resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 3, has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia).
To read the President’s full testimony, click here.
UM System President Tim Wolfe testifies in favor of HJR 14. He is joined by Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka).
Joint Committee on Education receives updated higher education funding formula
The Joint Committee on Education met on February 4 to receive additional details and an updated version of the committee’s proposed funding formula for higher education institutions. The latest version also included a spreadsheet to give an example of how various institutions are currently funded and might be funded in the future.
The proposal indicates higher education would require $388 million in additional operating revenues from the state to be fully funded. Under this formula, the University of Missouri System would be receiving $564 million in state funding each year. The University’s actual appropriation for FY13 was $398 million.
The committee, which was required to develop the formula due to legislation passed last year, will now take additional input. The goal is to have a formula developed for consideration in the FY15 budget year.
Governor Jay Nixon promotes Medicaid expansion during stop at MU
On February 7, Governor Jay Nixon discussed his plans to expand Medicaid coverage at MU’s Trulaske College of Business. Among the attendees were UM System President Tim Wolfe, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, and Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Dr. Hal Williamson.
To read more about the Governor’s visit to MU, click here.
Senate, House Extension bills move forward
Legislation to provide statutory authority for MU Extension to establish single- or multi-county funding districts has cleared committees in both the House and Senate with the potential for floor consideration next week. The legislation is a priority for the University and provides a tool for Extension councils in the counties to improve efficiencies and the option of putting local property tax questions on the ballot to support local Extension programming.
Senate Bill 9, sponsored by Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), and House Bill 202, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-Neosho), would provide the statutory language needed to give Extension councils the option. For more information on the proposal, click here.
Governor releases additional funding for higher education
This week, Governor Jay Nixon announced the release of $8.5 million in higher education funding that was withheld at the beginning of FY 2013 on July 1. Of this amount, the University of Missouri will receive $3.9 million. The Governor cited higher than expected revenues as the reason for releasing the funds. The State Historical Society also received $100,000 in previously-withheld funding.
According to the state Office of Budget and Planning, year-to-date revenue collections increased 9.5 percent compared to the same period in 2012. In the month of January, revenue collections increased by 18.4 percent compared to January 2012.
UMKC’s Innovation Center leads economic development project
The Innovation Center, which works with leaders from UMKC and the community to encourage entrepreneurship, recently announced its involvement with Digital Sandbox KC, a project to motivate development of local IT-related startup companies. The announcement was made on February 1 at Union Station in Kansas City. In attendance were Governor Jay Nixon, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, and UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton.
To read more about the project, click here.
President Obama to deliver State of the Union on February 12
President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union address on February 12 at 8:00 p.m. The President indicated that the speech will focus on job creation, ensuring students are equipped to compete in a 21st century economy, energy, and government spending. After the State of the Union, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will deliver the formal Republican response.