JEFFERSON CITY - A key Senate committee on Wednesday took the University of Missouri's budget for next year and eliminated a $2.6 million increase the House had proposed giving the four-campus system.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to go with the numbers that Gov. Mel Carnahan had recommended to the legislature in January, effectively ignoring the increase the House had added in February.
But the school's lobbyist, Jim Snider, cautioned the budget process isn't over yet.
"I would characterize this as a tactical decision," Snider said about the vote. "People need to realize the governor's recommendations are extremely favorable to the university."
Carnahan had proposed an 8.5 increase for the university. The bill the House passed pushed the increase to 9.2 percent.
The legislature is now in the process of reviewing and voting on all the spending bills for the state's budget. By voting to spend an amount different from what the House recommended, the senators are essentially allowing themselves maneuvering room at the final budget bargaining table.
The next step for the funding bill is a vote by the whole Senate. The Senate rarely changes recommendations by the Appropriations Committee.
The bill will then go to a conference committee compromising senators and representatives, where the members will iron out the differences in what the two chambers drafted. After each chamber votes once more on an identical bill, it will be sent to the governor to be signed or vetoed.