JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House's $720,000 message to the University of Missouri fell on deaf ears in the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.
During debate on the state's 2003 budget, the committee removed more than $2.3 million in funds previously provided to the Department of Education through the House appropriations process.
Because the amount is a net figure that includes both budget additions and cuts made by the House, the committee essentially disregarded all changes made to the Higher Education budget on the House floor.
"Some people call what the House did sending a message," said Sen. Harry Wiggins, D-Kansas City. "I don't think the appropriations process is the place to do that."
Last week the House approved a $500,000 cut to MU in retaliation for KOMU's policy banning patriotic insignia in the newsroom. Lawmakers also further cut funding to signal their disapproval of both a UMKC Professor's writings on pedophelia and a UMSL lobbyist.
The House cuts were offset in the Higher Education budget by additional revenue that the House provided to the state's community colleges and four-year institutions.
Each school had been allocated $100,000 by the House Budget Committee upon recommendation from the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Three four-year institutions, Missouri Southern, Missouri Western and Southwest Missouri State, had been allocated $750,000 each.
Although MU and UMSL were originally allocated $100,000 each in the process, the larger cuts wiped out the funds.
"Given the current funding situation we're not surprised that they took the additional funding out in the Senate Committee," said Joe Martin, Associate Commissioner for the Department of Higher Education. "We'll just have to see what happens in the conference committee."
After approval from the full Senate, the budget will go to conference between the two chambers at which time differences in the two budgets must be reconciled.
All changes made by the House or that may be made by the full Senate will come on top of a ten percent Higher Education budget cut proposed by the governor in January.