The following is excerpted from UM Legislative Update – May 8, 2015:
Governor signs budget bill providing increase to higher education
Governor Jay Nixon signed the higher education budget bill, HB 3, at 2:30 p.m. May 8, providing the University of Missouri System with its share of a 1.3 percent performance funding increase, $10 million in continued support for expansion of MU’s School of Medicine for southwest Missouri, and $500,000 for an Urban Neighborhood Initiative at UMKC, among other items. This represents the first time in several years when the Governor did not issue any vetoes or withholdings in the higher education budget bill presented to him by lawmakers. The detailed budget overview will be posted on the Office of Administration web site on Monday, May 18.
Legislators send Governor capital package that includes higher education repair, 50-50 projects
Governor Nixon is now reviewing three bills aimed at providing millions in capital improvement funding to higher education and state facilities after the Senate and House approved the bills by wide margins on May 6 and May 7. The University of Missouri System would receive $95 million in maintenance and repair funds for projects across the campuses, as well as nearly $30 million in matching funds for four 50-50 projects, as part of the package.
HB 17 would provide reappropriation authority for several UM projects initially approved last year but that are either still in progress or awaiting fund releases. They include:
- $38.5 million for renovation of Lafferre Hall at MU’s College of Engineering. Bonds were released to begin this project earlier in the year.
- $10 million in state matching funds for the UMSL College of Business Administration 50-50 project, with funds released this week. (See related story)
- $1.2 million in state matching funds for Missouri S&T’s Experimental Mine Building, with funds released earlier in the month.
- $10 million in state matching funds for MU’s College of Business Applied Learning Center.
- $7.4 million in state matching funds for UMKC’s Free Enterprise Center.
The bill, along with HB 18, provides funds for construction and renovation projects with the state capitol building, state parks, and various other state facilities. HB 19 includes top priority maintenance and repair projects on each higher education campus across the state funded through bonds that were authorized last year. UM’s projects for renovation include:
- $12.1 million for renovation of Schrenk Hall at Missouri S&T
- $18.3 million for renovation of Spencer Chemistry and Biological Sciences at UMKC
- $12.5 million for renovation of Stewart Hall at MU
- $13.6 million for renovation of Benton Hall at UMSL
The bill also includes $8 million for construction of a new business incubator in St. Louis with UMSL as a partner, as well as $35 million for a new facility for the State Historical Society in Columbia, which will free up space that organization currently uses in the basement of Ellis Library at MU.
The Board of Public Buildings will have to convene and vote to issue revenue bonds for most of the maintenance projects approved, although in the case of the university’s 50-50 projects those are all general revenue appropriations and thus will not require any bonding. The Governor will need to take action on the capital bills within 45 days, but issued a statement May 7 praising the legislature for passing the bills.
“We are very appreciative of the legislative leadership in the Missouri House and Senate, including the budget and appropriations chairs and many members of the local delegations from our four campuses, for supporting this critical legislation and for understanding the pressing capital needs on our four campuses,” said UM System President Tim Wolfe. “This funding will address our growing maintenance and repair demands across the University of Missouri System, while also providing funding for four priority capital improvement 50-50 projects made possible by many donors across the state. These bills will help us to meet our educational mission while also providing a significant boost to our state’s current and future economy.”