JEFFERSON CITY - Although there is one more chance for funding that was axed from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority bill to be restored, one legislator said that opportunity might not mature.
A capital improvements appropriations bill that has seen no action since it left committee two weeks ago could be used to restore funding to two building in the University of Missouri System. But Rep. Ed Robb, R-Columbia, said Monday that he doubts the bill would make it through the House and Senate with just a little more than two weeks in the session.
"There's not enough time and it's too much money," Robb said, adding that the bill would appropriate about $110 million in two years.
Robb said he will offer an amendment to the bill, House Bill 19, that will restore $31.2 million to the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, but he doubts that it will matter because the bill might not pass.
Instead of restoring funding now, an agreement between state legislators and the governor could restore $31.2 million to MU's new Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in January 2008, Robb said. But he mentioned nothing of a pharmacy building at University of Missouri-Kansas City that was also axed from the project list.
The Senate removed funding from this project when it passed an appropriations bill that includes the list of projects funded by the sale of some of MOHELA's assets. Because Sen. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, and Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, filibustered the wide-spanning higher education bill that includes the partial sale of MOHELA, $46 million of funding to projects in their districts were axed.
Robb said his deal with the governor would require that the funding be added into a supplemental appropriations bill that would be created in January 2008. Justus said she has also discussed restoring $15 million to the pharmacy building at the UMKC.
Justus said she would offer an amendment to HB 19, if it makes it to the Senate floor, though Robb said he doesn't think the bill will make it that far .
But today Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles, said he expects the bill to make it to the Senate floor.
Although Robb said he doubts that bill will pass because it has too many projects in it, Graham said Robb's power could pass the bill.
"Well maybe he ought to try hard," Graham said, adding that Robb is a powerful Republican in the House -- he's the vice chairman on the Budget Committee. "I don't think people with cancer have a reason to wait another year."
Robb said the reason he wants to return funding to build the cancer center is because his wife had cancer.
"My wife is a cancer survivor and she has been a cancer at Ellis Fischel and many of my friends have been," he said."So making sure that that facility gets updated and we are able to provide the high tech and research opportunities for people who are afflicted with cancer is very important."