Nixon announces $4 million in cuts to University of Missouri System

Friday, June 22, 2012 | 2:17 p.m. CDT; updated 5:07 p.m. CDT, Friday, June 22, 2012

COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri System could lose $4 million under budget cuts announced Friday by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Nixon announced a 1 percent cut from last year's funding to all public universities totaling $8.8 million. It marks the third year in a row higher education funding has been cut. Last year, public universities took a 7 percent cut.  

This year, the legislature gave the four-campus system $398.2 million, the same amount as last year. Nixon's withhold puts the system's total funding at $394 million for fiscal 2013. 

Nixon said he was withholding the higher education funds to preserve a balanced budget. He said the spending plan passed by the General Assembly in early May is $50 million out of balance.

The legislature's "rosy" projection of $35 million in lottery funds beyond what was originally projected led to today's announcement, Nixon said.

"We must continue our steadfast fiscal discipline," he said during a Friday morning news conference in the Capitol. 

Nixon also said the legislature's decision to cut $11 million in disaster relief funds led to the higher education cuts. He said the state still owes money for the cleanup after the Joplin tornado and floods last year. 

If state revenues perform better throughout the next fiscal year, Nixon has the authority to return the money to the public universities. He also has the authority to cut additional funds, if necessary. 

Overall, Nixon announced $15 million in state spending cuts Friday. 

Other programs to be cut include an urban teaching program, the eating disorder council and advertising for abortion alternatives.

The state's fiscal year begins July 1.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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