Senate panel downs $100,000 funding boost for Southeast

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Senate Appropriations Committee sliced $100,000 in spending for Southeast Missouri State University that was approved by the House of Representatives.

The committee's action, which must be approved by the full chamber, would give Southeast $45.4 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1 -- the same amount Gov. Bob Holden suggested when he offered his proposed budget in January.

The governor's proposal would cut state spending for Southeast and other four-year, public colleges by 10 percent.

The House had given Southeast a $100,000 boost over the governor's version, but the Senate committee took it back as part of its budget-balancing efforts.

In addition, money the House added for other four-year institutions and community colleges was also rescinded.

On paper, senators boosted the overall budget for the Department of Higher Education by $10.4 million over the House version.

However, Joseph Martin, a spokesman for the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, said the increase came largely from using higher estimates of federal money the department expects to receive.

$5.5 million in cuts

The committee cut $5.5 million in general revenue from higher education, leaving it with a budget nearly $1.1 billion.

The cuts included various reductions for scholarship programs.

The Senate panel restored deep slashes to operating expenses for the coordinating board, which oversees the department.

The House Budget Committee had called for cutting the board's budget by nearly one-third from the current fiscal year appropriation. Such a reduction would force the board to layoff about half its employees.

Once the full Senate passes the various bills that make up the state budget, differences from the House versions will have to be negotiated before the budget can be forwarded to the governor. The deadline for finishing the budget is May 10.

The higher education appropriations bill is HB 1103.

mpowers@semissourian.com

(573) 635-4608

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