Following a successful effort to defeat a package of special interest tax breaks, Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday the release of $143.6 million for local school districts and higher education institutions. In addition, local schools will be spared an additional $93 million cut to their Proposition C sales tax revenues that would have resulted from these tax breaks becoming law.
“Presented with a clear choice between supporting local schools and siding with special interests, the General Assembly yesterday stood with us and made the right decision to invest in the best economic development tool there is: public education,” Gov. Nixon said. “The resources I’m announcing today are possible because legislators of both parties came together and agreed that it’s time invest in our schools.”
In June, Gov. Nixon vetoed bills containing more than a dozen special tax carve-outs and loopholes passed by the legislature in the final hours of the legislative session. These provisions, which were not accounted for by the General Assembly in its budget, would have reduced state and local revenues by more than $776 million annually, including $93 million annually from dedicated Proposition C sales tax revenues for local schools.
Over the summer, Governor Nixon assembled a coalition of Missourians across the state including local elected officials, educators, business leaders, farmers and first responders who came together and spoke out in opposition to these special tax breaks.
“As Missourians, we share a fundamental obligation to give our children the best possible opportunities to succeed and achieve their dreams, and in today’s global economy that means providing a strong public education system that prepares them to compete worldwide,” Gov. Nixon said. “The fact these special breaks will not become law is a testament to the efforts of a broad coalition of Missourians all across the state who spoke with one voice about the need to protect these vital public services.”
The funds released today by the Governor include $100,200,000 for the K-12 foundation formula and $43,396,533 in performance funding for the state’s public colleges and universities.
“Across our state, that means more teachers, smaller class sizes, greater access to preschool, and more technology in our classrooms,” Gov. Nixon said. “The future of our state depends on a strong public education system that delivers the high quality education our students deserve. While there is still much work to be done, I’m pleased we’re able to make these investments that will help our students succeed and our economy thrive. I thank members of the General Assembly for taking a closer look at these bills, listening to their constituents and standing with their schools.”
The Governor is currently reviewing the budget to determine whether there is sufficient revenue to release other restricted funds.
– Submitted by Channing Ansley, office of the governor