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Gov. Greitens cuts nearly $12 million in core community college funding

Posted on 25 January 2017 by Ian Schrauth

STLCC cannot make adjustments until Greitens outlines budget

By: Sean E. Thomas
Staff Writer

 

On Monday, Jan. 16, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced he would be proposing a total of $146 million in cuts to the Missouri budget.

Higher education, with an anticipated $82 million in cuts, will be taking the biggest hit. Of the $82 million that will be coming out of spending for higher education, almost $12 million will be coming directly from core funding for Community Colleges.

Core funding refers to financial support that covers basic “core” organizational and administrative costs.

This includes salaries for full-time employees, equipment, and facility upkeep.news

Some other areas of note that may stand to lose funding are the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Education Programs at Harris Stowe State University, a historically black college, and the Cyber Security Training Program at Southeast Missouri State University.

Four-year institutions will also be facing some of the same core funding cuts that are threatening St.Louis Community College campuses.

Greitens cited projections that would put the state of Missouri $39 million in the red by the end of the fiscal year as a reason for the proposed budget cuts, but promises no increase in taxes to remedy the issue.

Greitens pointed to poor economic growth as a reason for the growing deficit but with individual income taxes holding steady for the current fiscal year, it is unclear what is affecting economic growth in Missouri.

In fiscal year 2015 Missouri collected $436 million in corporate tax revenues.

In 2016, that number fell to $281 million.

The Missouri Budget Project, a nonprofit think tank that analyzes the Missouri budget has said that the primary cause for this are changes that were made to how corporate income taxes are collected.

Recent legislation has allowed multi-state corporations that do business inside and outside of the state to reduce their Missouri tax liability.

Although Gov.Greitens has mentioned that current tax credits are a problem, he has also mentioned plans to further deregulate big business in Missouri, a move that may only lead to more tax breaks for large, multi-state corporations.

The Montage has attempted repeatedly to schedule an interview with someone from Governor Greitens’ office to ask if higher education is losing funding so that multi-state corporations can continue reducing tax liability, but did not receive as of Tuesday, Jan. 24.

With Greitens opting out of outlining his budget for fiscal year 2017 during his State of the State Address, a move away from tradition, it is difficult for anyone at St. Louis Community College, faculty and student body alike, to anticipate how exactly these cuts will directly affect students at St. Louis Community College. Jill Houghton, college budget coordinator for St. Louis Community College, was on campus at Meramec on Jan. 23.

Houghton was there to present faculty with an outline for appropriating funds for their departments in the coming fiscal year.

Paul Zinck, vice chancellor of finance and administration, though scheduled to be there, was absent.

“The Governor is holding back $3.7 million from community college in fiscal ’17, we don’t know what that means for fiscal ’18, although one can assume there will be some sort of reduction,” said Houghton during the presentation, “The Governor is supposed to come out with his budget proposal in February and we will be able to have some kind of adjustment to our forecast at that point.” Meramec Provost Carol Lupardus was unable to be reached for an interview after multiple attempts from The Montage.

However, Vicki Kettenacker, manager of campus business services, responded on Lupardus’s behalf Tuesday morning per Lupardus’s request.

Kettenacker, said in an email that the overall impact on particular programs and areas of STLCC is unknown at this time, but the colleges’ goal is to impact students as little as possible.

 

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