This week in the Capitol, MCCA Presidents and Chancellors Council Chair Dr. Jon Bauer testified on our budget priorities before both House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Both Three Rivers College and OTC had several college representatives meeting with legislators in the Capitol this week.
Dr. Bauer began his testimony by expressing concern and understanding over the current budget situation.
“I want to acknowledge the difficult budget situation we are facing as a state and the difficult decisions you have ahead of you,” Dr. Bauer said. “We know it is not going to be easy for you and your colleagues.”
The state’s slow revenue growth, drop in corporate taxes, and prior shortfalls created a deficit for the current year that had grown to $39 million. To keep the budget balanced, which is legally required, Governor Eric Greitens announced another $146 million in withholds. When combined with previous withholds from Governor Jay Nixon, this brought the total withholds for this fiscal year to $346 million.
The problem still isn’t solved, however. The new Governor and legislature will have to figure out how to carve out space in Missouri’s FY 2018 budget to account for Missouri’s slow revenue.
“I don’t envy the job ahead of you,” Dr. Bauer told legislators. “I do know, though, that if you are looking for a solid investment – a place where people’s lives are changed, their families’ lives are improved, and where the bedrock of Missouri’s workforce is trained – it’s at our community colleges.”
Next week, we expect that the Governor will announce his budget priorities, and we should see further movement on the statewide mission review legislation, which could allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees under certain circumstances.