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Lawmakers Approve Funding Increases for Education

May 4, 2004
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

The House approved a final budget plan Tuesday that increases funding for lower and higher education WITHOUT millions of dollars in higher taxes recommended by Democratic Governor Bob Holden.

Missy Shelton reports.

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Springfield Republican Representative Mark Wright says there's good news for public schools and state universities as well as taxpayers.

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When Democratic Governor Bob Holden laid out his budget plan in January, he called for more than a half a billion dollars in new taxes to provide more money for education and other state programs.

With new data showing the state's economy is improving, lawmakers were able to give schools more money without higher taxes.

But some democratic lawmakers complained that schools still weren't getting enough money.

Democratic Representative Phillip Willoughby represents suburban Kansas City.

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But some lawmakers took exception to Willoughby's use of the word pork.

House Majority Floor Leader Jason Crowell defends money set aside to keep open a mental health facility in his district.

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The budget plan includes a funding increase for higher education.

But Columbia Democratic Representative Jeff Harris says it's not enough.

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But Springfield Republican Representative Mark Wright says comparisons are irrelevent since Missouri colleges and universities seem to do more with less funding.

He says the new money being sent to higher education institutions should help off-set recent tuition increases, including those at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield.

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The budget bills that have House approval will move to the Senate.

Once approved by the Senate, the bills will go to the governor's desk.

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