JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate is scheduled to debate Wednesday (April 3) the state's operating budget, including the budget for the University of Missouri. The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended virtually the same amount approved by the House for the university's budget.
The most important change has been the inclusion of $4 million for one- time endowed faculty chairs in the core budget.
The change will allow UM to utilize this money each year without further approval but it will not be required to use it for endowed chairs.
Jim Snider, lobbyist for UM, said the university will still use the $4 million as endowed faculty chairs.
The endowed faculty chairs are aimed at recruiting and retaining faculty members. The income from the fund would be used to pay salaries and expenses of the faculty.
Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Mike Lybyer, D-Huggins, said it was a profitable deal for the state to have these endowed faculty chairs.
"It helps to attract even better faculty to the University of Missouri," said Kevin Butterfield, with the Associated Students of the University of Missouri.
Butterfield said the Associated Students had wanted the endowed chairs be a permanent part of the university's budget and not having to be renewed every year.
The Senate Appropriations Committee also recommended a $3.5 million increase for the Missouri Rehabilitation Center. On Monday gov. Mel Carnahan signed into law a bill which transfers the center located in Mt. Vernon from the health department to the university.
Other increases are $69,586 for the purpose of funding the State Historical Society and $100,000 for the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab.
The Senate Appropriations Committee moved $1.5 million from the core budget into separate items. Those are $600,000 for the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab, $158,000 for the Geographic Information System Initiative and Plan, and 800,000 for funding the Commercial Agriculture Program.
The Senate Appropriation Committee also moved $250,000 fund for the Capsule Pipeline Research Project to the Department of Economic Development.
The Capsule Pipeline Research Center, based on the Columbia campus, investigates whether it is possible to move coal through pipelines by compressing it, and thus saving energy.
After the budget is approved by the Senate, it will go to a House-Senate conference committee to work out the differences in the budget approved by the two chambers.
For the UM's budget, the biggest difference would be whether to include faculty chair funds in the core budget or in a separate section subject to renewal by the legislature each year.