JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's budget director expressed frustration with the 2013 reduction in higher education funding. In his 2013 budget recommendation, Gov. Jay Nixon proposed a 15 percent cut in state appropriations to public universities.
"There are reductions in this budget that we would not be recommending, and this is one of them," said Nixon's Budget Director Linda Luebbering. "We would prefer to have more money for higher education. This recommendation is purely around making sure the budget's in balance."
Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee said in the past three years, more than 25 percent of cuts were to higher education funding -- leaving the rate of state aid equal to what it was in 1997. Cuts to higher education funding are proportionately higher than anything else in the state government, said committee chair Kurt Schaefer. R-Columbia.
Some senators said they are worried what Nixon's proposed cuts could do to tuition costs at universities. Luebbering said the governor requested universities keep tuition increases down as much as possible.
"If tuition is the answer for those institutions to compensate for what the state's not paying them for, is there going to be a negative response from the governor?," said Sen. Kurt Schaefer.
Luebbering said she had not talked to the governor about that issue.