Several House members, including Representative Donna Lichtenegger, came together Tuesday to join House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, to support the additional $2 million for the university that was placed in the budget by the House. The funding is now being scrutinized in the Missouri Senate wherein the budget process has been put on hold. The five members of the Southeast Missouri delegation said it is time to break the legislative logjam and move forward with the additional funding the university needs and deserves.
"The House put forward a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that includes additional funding for SEMO that makes the funding levels among all of our public universities more equitable," said Lichtenegger. "We have seen an inequity in the funding levels and this is nothing more than our effort to set things right and provide SEMO with adequate funding."
The members also noted other funding issues such as the need for funding to help improve or replace the university's aging science building and a funding cut to the Tailor Institute at Southeast Missouri State University's Autism Center.
"This is one of the top autism centers in the state and it deserves our support," said Lichtenegger. "While we don't plan to fund the center forever, we do want to ensure it is supported until it can stand on its own."
The House members hope a compromise can be reached in the coming days to secure the funding and approve the state budget. The Missouri General Assembly has a constitutional deadline of 6 p.m., Friday, May 11 to pass the budget and send it to the governor.