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Governor’s proposed budget tackles state employee pay & higher education

Governor Jay Nixon unveiled his proposed budget for fiscal 2017 Wednesday evening. In it, he calls for a 2% salary raise for state employees starting in July. The state employs 14,000 people in Cole County alone.

Missouri has the lowest paid state employees in the country. Acting Budget Director Daniel Haug says he doesn’t know if this 2% bump puts Missouri any higher on that list.

Along with the salary increase, comes cutting some full time employees – 48 to be exact.

Haug wouldn’t say the state is operating as lean as possible, but certainly has seen a reduction in the last seven years: “I’d say right now, the state is very lean when it comes to FTE. It’s over 5,100 lower than when Governor Nixon took officer.”

Education played a big part in the governor’s state of the state, and his proposed budget has some more money for that. Higher education would get a 6% increase.

Acting Budget Director Daniel Haug tells us the University of Missouri will get more than $461 million in state funding starting in July. Based on the funding level this year, all 24 publicly funded schools will not raise tuition next year. That includes Moberly Area Community College and Lincoln University in Jefferson City.

Senator Kurt Schaefer, Head of the Appropriations Committee, says the 2017 budget is some of the biggest spending he’s seen in a budget. Schaefer didn’t address higher education specifically, but says his committee will take a hard look at what the governor put out Wednesday.

Under the Missouri Constitution, the legislature must approve a state budget by early May.

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