UCM Pres. comments on tax cut bill

Written by Muleskinner Staff

In a special session today, the Missouri General Assembly did not overturn Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of House Bill 253, a tax cut and tax reform measure the governor claimed would jeopardize funding for education and other state services.
“Considering that a portion of UCM’s share of state funding was already on hold until a decision was made regarding the governor’s veto, we are very grateful to learn about the outcome of today’s special veto session,” said Charles Ambrose, president of the University of Central Missouri, as quoted in a press release. “UCM especially appreciates the support we received internally from members of campus governance groups who sent letters to our local legislators sharing their concerns about House Bill 253 and its potential impact on this campus. This was a very critical issue at a time when state funding for colleges and universities is already declining.”
Gov. Nixon in June announced his intention to withhold and restrict funds that included $33.7 million in Missouri higher education appropriations until his veto was overridden or survived the General Assembly’s approval. He indicated at that time that funds would be released immediately if the veto stands.
The $33.7 million that was being withheld represented 4 percent of the total funds appropriated for Missouri college and university operating budgets. The impact on UCM was $200,000 per month.
Legislators who supported HB 253 said it was needed to spur economic growth in Missouri and keep businesses from moving out of state. The governor believed that when HB 253 was fully implemented, it could cost the state $1.2 billion, and have an adverse effect on future funding for higher education.
“The fact that legislators did not override the governor’s veto helps ensure UCM’s sound budget outlook for the rest of Fiscal Year 2014, but we will continue to stay updated on activities at the state level that could affect our institution’s financial future. We also must continually look for ways to use our financial resources in the most effective way possible,” Ambrose said.