As the legislative session begins to wind down, the Missouri House and Senate approve a $27 billion budget.
The budget includes a 2 percent pay raise for state workers, an additional $71 million for K-12 education and $500,000 for a statewide web portal.
One of the most debated issues this session has been higher education funding. After the protests on MU campus in November, many lawmakers called for cuts to MU and the UM system.
Initially, the House cut nearly $8 million from the UM system, but the Senate restored most of the funding soon after.
In conference committee on Wednesday night, the Senate and House compromised to cut around $3.8 million. On Thursday, lawmakers voted to approve those cuts as part of the budget.
Gov. Jay Nixon’s budget called for a 6 percent increase to performance funding for the state’s higher education institutions – lawmakers approved a 4 percent increase.
Rep. Caleb Rowden, a Republican from Columbia, voted for the higher education bill that is part of the budget.
“The University of Missouri that has does so much for so many , students, faculty, parents, the job market in our state. Do we stand by them or do we vote no on this bill today and put our foot on their necks and say we don’t care about your future?” said Rowden.
Rep. Stephen Webber, a Democrat from Columbia, voted against the bill. Webber said the bill has unintended consequences.
“This retaliatory cut is not negatively impacting any of the administrators. It is being felt by the maintenance workers, the folks that actually make the University of Missouri system run,” said Webber.
Rep. Kip Kendrick, a Democrat from Columbia, also voted against the bill.
All state higher education institutions have agreed to a tuition freeze for the year because of the increase in performance funding.
The budget now moves onto Gov. Jay Nixon. He has until May 6 to approve it.