The Maneater

What you need to know about the House's vote on the budget

Rep. Caleb Jones was the only lawmaker from Boone County to vote for the cuts.

This past Thursday, 108 members in the Missouri House of Representatives voted to cut funding for the UM System by $8.6 million.

Lawmakers have used budget cuts as a way to voice their concerns over the events from the fall semester, including the university’s handling of assistant communication professor Melissa Click, who was fired Feb. 25. State appropriations made up 15 percent of the UM System’s budget this past year.

The cuts were announced near the end of February by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage.

“For several months legislators have had stories relayed to us from current and past students, staff, and faculty of a vast bureaucracy that rivals the Pentagon in terms of red tape and delays,” he said in a news release.

House Bill 2003, the higher education appropriations bill, broke up the UM System’s state appropriations into seven line items and cut $1 million from MU. Last year, MU received $220 million from the state.

On Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon spoke out against the cuts in a press conference. [In his initial budget](http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2015/9/22/higher-education-funding-could-increase-6-percent/), Nixon proposed a 6 percent funding increase for higher education. Members of the House Budget committee opted for a 2 percent increase but withheld that boost from the UM System. "To say ... that the university is doing nothing is just not true. It's just not," [he told the Columbia Missourian.](http://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/state_news/nixon-condemns-legislative-effort-to-cut-um-system-budget/article_264e978c-e7b1-11e5-a406-bf7cb4e07b21.html) "The university and the administration and everybody is reacting and working hard, and all (legislators) are doing is perpetuating the problem and making it worse by not supporting the students." Four area lawmakers voted against the bill. Rep. Caleb Jones, R-Columbia, was the lone holdout. “The cuts to the University of Missouri definitely do affect our land grant system, but the University of Missouri should count their lucky stars that they weren’t zeroed out,” [Jones told the Columbia Tribune on Thursday](http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/education/turmoil_at_mu/house-vote-sends-bill-with-university-of-missouri-cuts-to/article_dd475682-5c49-5513-9512-1ec47dbc46fc.html). Jones currently lives in Columbia, and received both his master’s and law degree from MU. He did not return The Maneater’s calls as of Thursday night. He represents three other counties in addition to Boone. Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia; Rep. Chuck Bayse, R-Rocheport; and Jones signed a letter on Feb. 26 calling for the restoration of the cuts. “The free market is holding the University accountable for its mistakes,” the letter read. “Now we must give administrators the opportunity to respond and adapt.” ####Anger toward MU In the discussion on the House floor, representatives fought over the terms of the bill, some calling for immediate removal of UM System funds due to MU’s lack of effort in moving toward equality, while others thought it was absurd to cut the budget at all. Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, voted for HB 2003 to pass, saying that the university shouldn’t fret over the loss of such minimal funding. He had earlier referred to MU as a “resort” with its rock wall and lazy river. Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, sees the budget cut as means of improvement for MU, calling out the university for their problems, which are “out of control.” Hoskins voted yes on the bill. The appropriations bill also included [a 2 percent increase to institutions of higher education](https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2016/2/11/house-committee-votes-deny-um-system-budget-increa/&sa=D&ust=1457666831092000&usg=AFQjCNGTmpnAhT6GLzVfrJ3x8L-tkgWAJQ) outside of the UM System. “They are there to learn, not to protest all day long,” Lichtenegger told the Tribune in February. “I thought we learned that lesson in the ’60s. Obviously we haven’t.” After incidents of racism came to light during the fall 2015 semester, Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, D-Ferguson, said during the debate that he believes the university should see major budget cuts in the upcoming year. However, he voted no on the bill because he thought the cuts to be too small. The $1 million taken from MU will be transferred to Lincoln University in Jefferson City. Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, said he thinks this action is useless. **The next steps** Per the budget process outlined on the legislature’s website, the bill will be sent to the state senate where they will consider and potentially amend the bill. If the Senate makes any changes, the budget bill will be sent back to the House. The budgets bills will then be sent to Nixon. ####Impact at MU If the funding cuts make it through the Senate, the budget problems for MU will worsen. On Wednesday, interim Chancellor Hank Foley [announced that MU would be down $32 million for the next year](http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2016/3/9/mu-experience-32-million-budget-loss-enrollment-de/). To make up for the loss, there will be a hiring freeze and a 5 percent budget cut across the board. The UM System Operating budget totals $3 billion. The $7.6 million in cuts are targeted at the UM System administration. Foley said in his letter that those cuts would be shared by the four campuses so that the system offices can still be carried on. “We at MU would probably bear a significant percent of the system reduction in order to maintain treasury, legal counsel, benefits administration and other services system administers,” Foley wrote.
The budget loss is a result of decreasing enrollment. MU has received 23 percent fewer deposits compared to this time last year, [interim Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Barbara Rupp told Faculty Council on Thursday](http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2016/3/10/faculty-council-discusses-budget-enrollment-projec/). Since 2004, tuition and fees have been the largest source of revenue for the UM System. Officials with the UM System have long said that state appropriations have not kept up with the system’s growing enrollment and operating budget.

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