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23 January 2012

Schaefer: Addressing Governor's Drastic Cuts to Higher Education

As many of you know, this past Tuesday evening (1/17), Gov. Jay Nixon delivered his State of the State address which outlined the state budget for this upcoming fiscal year. Under the governor’s proposal, Missourians, especially our college and university students, will face drastic funding cuts. With the help of my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, I hope to reallocate funds to strengthen education and respect Missouri’s priorities.

The governor's request to cut 12.5 percent to higher education is the largest single cut to this area of our state's funding in Missouri’s history – surpassing Gov. Holden’s 10.06 percent cut in 2003. Adding to the governor’s 12.5 percent cut, his 8 percent cut this year and 5.4 percent cut the year before, higher education has been reduced by more than 25 percent. To put this in perspective, higher education funding has not been this low since 1997, roughly the same time many in the current record-setting freshman class of MU were new to the world.

Immediately after the State of the State address, I, along with Senate leadership, met with the media to discuss the details of the governor's address. Only by working across the aisle can we solve Missouri’s budget crisis.

On Wednesday morning (1/18), the Senate Appropriations Committee continued to hear public testimony from a number of state departments.

The Department of Elementary & Secondary Education; Department of Higher Education; Office of Administration; Department of Agriculture; Department of Natural Resources; Department of Conservation; Department of Economic Development; Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration; Department of Labor & Industrial Relations; Department of Public Safety; and the Department of Corrections all provided appeals for increased funding.

We greatly value the time and dedication of these individuals. I thank them for their continued interest in the contributions of these departments towards the best interests of the state of Missouri.

Wednesday was also the first day of the gubernatorial appointment hearings. I was pleased to sponsor Shirley Patterson as a member of the Coordinating Board for Early Childhood; Le Greta Hudson as a member of the State Committee of Dietitians; and Kelly Schultz to the Office of Child Advocate of Children’s Protection and Services.

I am confident these individuals will be valuable members of their respective panels.

Above: Shirley Patterson. (left), LaGreta Hudson, (center), and Kelly Schultz, (right), with Sen. Schaefer at their respective gubernatorial hearings.

Also on Wednesday, Chief Justice Richard B. Teitelman gave the State of the Judiciary address during a joint session of the House and Senate. He reminded us of the importance of working together in order to better serve the people’s welfare.

To learn more about Chief Justice Teitelman, please visit his webpage here.

On Thursday (9/19), several Rock Bridge sports teams paid a visit to the Capitol. I had the pleasure of introducing these talented athletes on the Senate floor. These individuals know the importance of teamwork and represented Boone County exceptionally.

In addition, I had the honor of presenting local winners of the Missouri Small Business & Technology Award with personal Senate resolutions on Thursday. I would like to acknowledge the following small businesses in Boone and Randolph counties for their success:
  • Accurate Rx
  • Elemental Enzymes
  • Finspeed
  • Jina Yoo’s Asian Bistro
Finally, on Thursday, the Missouri Board of Realtors visited my office for their legislative day at the Capitol. I was able to meet with them and hear some of their concerns and answer a few questions about the legislative process.

The board members and I then entered the Senate chamber for a group photograph (left).

Thank you for your continued interest in the issues that affect the citizens of Boone and Randolph counties. If you have any questions or concerns throughout this session, please contact my office.

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