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Gov. Greitens proposes cutting higher education funding to pay for infrastructure, public safety, K-12 education

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Governor Eric Greitens outlined his budget proposal at a news conference in the Governor’s Office Monday afternoon.

According to Greitens, his budget proposal includes increases in funding for infrastructure, education, public safety, and programs to protect Missouri’s most vulnerable children.

The increase in funding will mean cuts to higher education funding as will Medicaid spending, and other smaller reductions in government spending.

Greitens proposed a 7.7 percent decrease in funding for higher education.

“The budget we’re introducing today is a common-sense, conservative budget. We’re watching out for the tax dollars of the people of Missouri, making important investments in Missouri’s future, and also making tough decisions to make sure we don’t burden our children with debt,” said Governor Greitens in his news release.

“Our budget increases funding for our priorities: infrastructure, education, public safety, and protecting our most vulnerable children. We’re able to afford those investments by making tough choices, protecting every taxpayer dollar, and eliminating wasteful spending.”

Included in the Governor’s proposals are:
– $87 million increase in funding for K-12 education.
– $162.8 million increase in funding for roads and bridges.
– $25 million for a Jobs and Infrastructure fund to pay for key infrastructure projects that will attract jobs.
– More than $29 million in new funding for programs that assist Missouri’s most vulnerable children.

Greitens also fielded questions on his affair with a woman in March 2015. The governor admitted to the affair but denied the woman’s claim to her now ex-husband that Greitens took a partially nude photo of her and threatened to release it if she spoke about their relationship.

The ex-husband recorded the conversation. In the recording, the now ex-wife gives her then-husband details of her sexual encounter with Greitens. The unidentified woman did not know her then-husband was recording their conversation when she confessed to him.

“There was no blackmail. There was no violence. There was no photograph for blackmail. There was no threat of using a photograph for blackmail,” said Greitens. “The mistake that I made was that I was engaged in a consensual relationship. It is a mistake for which I am deeply sorry. For Sheena and I that is where the story begins and ends.”

That budget summary can be found here.

Statement from University of Missouri-Kansas City about state budget outlook:

“We recognize and appreciate the hard work of our elected leaders in addressing the fiscal challenges facing the state. As the largest public institution of higher learning in Missouri, we’ll also contribute our share to address these fiscal challenges. The latest reductions in state support for the University of Missouri System add up to $71 million during the past three years with an additional $38 million at risk through performance funding. This has required administrative restructuring, efficiency measures, and cuts to academic and support programs. These budget difficulties also underscore the need for Missouri public universities to have relief from Senate Bill 389 to grow our revenue during periods of shrinking state support. Without this relief, the quality of our educational offerings, access to critical services by our students, and the impact of our institution in creating economic and community development will be diminished.

“Our commitment to an affordable education is stronger than ever before, and we look forward to working with elected leaders to keep our investment in higher education a top priority for the state of Missouri because of its significant positive impact for the future of Missouri.”

Watch the full speech here.