Despite finalizing $59.8 million in budget cuts and eliminating 307 positions at the University of Missouri Columbia campus, local and state leaders are hopeful Mizzou will rebound.
“The university being the flagship campus is vital to Columbia, Boone County and all of mid-Missouri,” said Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R – Hallsville. “It turns the economy over and over again and creates the jobs for locals.”
Columbia Chamber of Commerce President Matt McCormick echoed similar statements about the university’s important role in the city’s economy.
“It is our number one economic driver, without a doubt,” he said. “It’s extremely important to us.”
UM System President Mon Choi explained the final budget cuts and layoffs Friday to the Mizzou community at Memorial Union. The FY2018 budget includes $101 million in cuts and the elimination of 474 jobs across all four campuses and the UM system.
McCormick said despite the cuts and job losses, the Chamber of Commerce will continue to work with and advocate for the university to state lawmakers in Jefferson City. He said they’ll begin working Mizzou leaders to outline priorities with the chamber for the next legislative session.
“We’re looking to where can we play that supportive role so that we can take care of our own and take care of the people that are here,” he said.
Rep. Toalson Reisch said she’s hopeful Missouri’s economy will bounce back to help restore funding to higher education in the next legislative session.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of positive changes at MU and looking forward to the budget next year that we can hopefully restore some of these cuts,” she said.