Gov. Jay Nixon, senior administration officials and education leaders from throughout the Missouri side of the Kansas City metropolitan area today met at the Stansberry Leadership Center of the Lee's Summit School District to discuss the impact of House Bill 253 on Missouri's public schools. Gov. Nixon vetoed House Bill 253 in June calling it an unaffordable experiment that would force dramatic cuts to education and raise taxes on prescription drugs.
Gov. Jay Nixon met with education leaders in Lee's Summit to discuss the impact of House Bill 253 on Missouri's public schools.
"Quality schools and a highly-skilled workforce are more important than ever to competing in the global marketplace and growing our economy," Gov. Nixon said. "Today, Missouri's perfect credit rating is intact, GDP is up and businesses across the state are investing and growing. Unfortunately, right now, one reckless experiment cooked up by a few special interests threatens to throw us off course by jeopardizing support for education and other vital public services. Even based on the General Assembly's own estimates, House Bill 253 would funnel millions of dollars away from our public schools - and into the pockets of lawyers and lobbyists - each and every year."
"Even under the most conservative estimates, Lee's Summit schools could lose at least $5 million annually in state aid when House Bill 253 is fully phased-in," said Dr. David McGehee, superintendent of the Lee's Summit School District. "Our schools and our students do not deserve to see their budgets cut just to pay for a tax break that does little to benefit families here in Lee's Summit. With almost nothing to gain and so much to lose, it's clear that House Bill 253 is bad for our students, our communities and our future."
Findings published last month by the three leading independent credit rating agencies, Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's, show the potential for serious risks to Missouri's fiscal health and the state's long-standing AAA credit rating if the Governor's veto is overridden and House Bill 253 becomes law. A downgrade to the state's credit rating would increase the interest paid on state and local bond issues.
"Eighty-seven percent of voters here in Blue Springs recently approved a $20 million bonding initiative to support our schools," said Dr. Paul Kinder, superintendent of the Blue Springs School District. "If Missouri's AAA credit rating is downgraded because of House Bill 253, interest rates could rise and make these bonds more expensive for taxpayers. We will continue to communicate with our elected representatives about the importance of supporting public education and sustaining the Governor's veto of House Bill 253."
Data released last month by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at the request of the Missouri Association of School Administrators showed a breakdown of district funding levels under two scenarios if House Bill 253 becomes law. The first scenario showed the impact using the General Assembly's fiscal note, which estimates a total cost of $692 million each year once the bill is fully implemented. The second scenario showed the impact using funding levels if the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act becomes law, which would increase the cost of House Bill 253 to $1.2 billion as early as the current fiscal year.
"With revenue reductions of this magnitude, almost all public services would be affected if House Bill 253 becomes law," Gov. Nixon said. "But the impact on our K-12 schools would be among the most devastating to local communities, and harmful to our long-term economic growth. The fact is, members of the General Assembly can either support House Bill 253 or they can support education - but they can't do both."
The negative impact of House Bill 253 on public schools in the Kansas City area would be significant. When fully implemented, the cost each year could be $4.9 million for Lee's Summit R-7 schools; $3.8 million for Blue Springs R-4 schools; and $5.6 million for Independence schools. If the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act becomes law, the cost for the current year could be $8.5 million for Lee's Summit R-7 schools; $6.6 million for Blue Springs R-4 schools; and $9.8 million for Independence schools.