Gov. Jay Nixon, senior administration officials and education leaders from throughout the St. Louis area today met at the Millennium Student Center at the University of Missouri - St. Louis 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.
"To continue Missouri's economic growth and job creation, we must continue to invest in our schools and workforce," Gov. Nixon said. "Today, Missouri's GDP is up, unemployment is down and our perfect credit rating is intact. However, House Bill 253 puts all of this progress in jeopardy by funneling millions of dollars away from our public schools - and into the pockets of lawyers and lobbyists - each and every year. House Bill 253 is a reckless fiscal experiment cooked up by a few special interests that could knock Missouri permanently off course and send us heading in the wrong direction."
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.
"House Bill 253 and its staggering price tag will negatively impact all public services, especially education," Gov. Nixon said. "To pay for House Bill 253, Missouri would have to make devastating cuts to our public schools and institutes of higher learning, harming our long-term economic growth. The truth 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 schools in the St. Louis region would be significant. When fully implemented, the cost each year could be $10.3 million for St. Louis City schools; $746,000 for St. Charles schools; $4.7 million for Hazelwood schools; and $3.4 million for Ferguson-Florissant schools. If the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act becomes law, the cost for the current year could be $17.8 million for St. Louis City schools; $1.2 million for St. Charles schools; $8.2 million for Hazelwood schools; and $5.9 million for Ferguson-Florissant schools.
Recent findings by the three leading independent credit rating agencies, Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's, also 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.