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Missouri Gov. Parson reverses $127M in budget cuts, sends $68M extra to colleges

Austin Huguelet
Springfield News-Leader

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said this week he’s restoring roughly $127 million he cut from the state budget last year because revenues are coming in better than expected.

About $23 million will go to the state’s public colleges, bringing them back up to the full amount of benchmark state aid authorized by the legislature last spring.

Parson also restored a $9 million line item for job training programs and $8 million for the state tourism office, which saw its budget line cut nearly in half over the summer.

All told, the changes reverse more than a quarter of the cuts Parson made in July at the beginning of the current fiscal year.

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020.

Parson said the changes came courtesy of an improving economy.

“We continue to outpace our economic recovery forecast, which is why we are able to release these funds today," he said. "This is great news for our overall state and economy, and we will continue to evaluate our budget and spending as we move forward into the new year."

Several major cuts are still outstanding, including a $123.3 million withholding from K-12 education representing roughly 3.5 percent of what lawmakers promised. Parson allocated about $61 million in federal funding to help close that gap in October, though.

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Parson also announced plans to send $68 million in federal money to public colleges to help pay for building and maintenance projects. The University of Missouri-Columbia will get $20.1 million of that; Missouri State University will get $8.4 million.

MU plans to use the money to pay for 26 different projects, including repairs at Ellis Library and roof replacements for veterinary school buildings.

Ryan DeBoef, MSU President Clif Smart's chief of staff, said the Springfield school will submit its own plan for the money to the university board later this month.

Austin Huguelet is the News-Leader's politics reporter. Got something he should know? Have a question? Call him at 417-403-8096 or email him at ahuguelet@news-leader.com.