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Nixon approves state's fiscal 2012 budget

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon approved the state's fiscal 2012 $23.4 billion budget June 10 after making $172 million in additional cuts.

Of the $172 million, $57 million was trimmed from the general fund, while $115 million was cut from other funds, according to a list of expenditure restrictions posted to the Office of Administration Web site.

The largest reduction - $99.7 million - was taken from Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority.

Other multimillion dollar cuts were four-year institutions, $14.9 million, and Medicaid, $13.9 million.

Missouri State University loses approximately $5.9 million in state funding due to the cut.

In a response, Missouri State University President James Cofer thanked the governor for his review of the higher education budget before the fiscal year begins on July 1.

"We very much understand and appreciate the budget choices the governor had to make in order to have a balanced budget," Cofer said in a news release. "The good news is we have been planning on the 7 percent reduction since January when the governor announced his budget. As a result, we are prepared and ready to implement our budget at that level. We will live within the budget, while keeping the tuition and fee increases as low as possible for students."

The MSU Board of Governors voted at its April 1 meeting to increase tuition across the board for its students, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

At its June 17 meeting, the board is expected to approve MSU's fiscal 2012 budget, which includes $265.9 million in anticipated revenue and $245.3 million in estimated expenses. The board voted in June 2010 for a fiscal 2011 budget that included revenue of $257.6 million and expenses of $252.5 million. The school's fiscal year begins July 1.

Approximately $50 million in fiscal 2012 state budget reductions are funds that were allocated to aid disaster areas in Joplin and southeast Missouri.

In a separate news release, nonprofit advocacy group The Missouri Budget Project criticized the disaster-relief reductions, saying money should have instead been taken out of Missouri's $500 million Rainy Day Fund.

"By utilizing the Rainy Day Fund for its intended purpose, the state would be able to restore the funding cut from higher education and other critical services while at the same time be able to respond to the emergency needs created by multiple natural disasters," Missouri Budget Project Executive Director Amy Blouin said in the release.

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