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MU at Bottom of Governor's Budget

January 22, 1997
By: Judit Layana, Esther Braun, Rosa Moran, Lynda Gledhill & Angela Greiling
State Capital Bureau

Also see the higher education budget table.

JEFFERSON CITY - The University of Missouri system would get the smallest percent increase in state funds of any of the state's universities and colleges under the budget plan presented by Gov. Mel Carnahan Wednesday.

State funding for the university system would increase only 3.5 percent, while other schools would enjoy hikes ranging from 6.5 percent to more than 10 percent.

State Budget Director Mark Ward said the higher increases recommended by the governor for the other schools were based on the mission-enhancement reviews of the Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Ward said the University of Missouri does not undergo a similar enhancement review until next year.

Columbia lawmakers had mixed reactions to the governor's recommendation.

"There are some initiatives that are taking place at some of the other institutions," said Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia. "I think the budget is probably a reflection of the needs of particular institutions. I'm not going to complain about an increase."

Rep. Tim Harlan, D-Columbia, noted that a high percentage increase was approved for the University last year. He said the university should not expect a large increase two years in a row.

Last year, lawmakers approved an increase greater than eight percent for the University of Missouri.

Harlan said implementation of federal requirements on welfare imposed a large demand on the state's budget.

Rep. Vicky Wilson, D-Columbia, said she did not consider the governor's recommendation for the university to be sufficient. Wilson added that the governor's recommendation is not the final say on the issue. "This is the first stage in the process."

Columbia will be well represented in that next stage. Two Columbia lawmakers - Harlan and Graham - serve on the Education Appropriations Committee that will be the first committee to take up the higher education budget.

Wilson expressed hope that the amount of funding for MU would be raised in the course of the appropriation process.