Following the General Assembly's vote to sustain his veto of House Bill 253, Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that he would immediately release $215.2 million in funding for education, mental health and other priorities for the current fiscal year. In June, Gov. Nixon exercised his constitutional authority to restrict $400 million from the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, citing additional spending appropriated by the legislature and the potential for a $1.2 billion hit to the state budget if House Bill 253 became law.
"With the potential to punch a $1.2 billion hole in our state budget in the current fiscal year, House Bill 253 would have done immediate and lasting damage to Missouri's ability to support vital public services like public education," Gov. Nixon said. "As Governor, it's my responsibility to keep our state's budget in balance so I applaud the General Assembly for sustaining my veto of this unaffordable bill and am pleased to make this funding available for these important priorities. My administration will continue to monitor the numbers carefully to ensure we protect our perfect AAA credit rating and keep the state on a fiscally sustainable path."
The released funding includes $66.4 million for K-12 education, $33.7 million for higher education, $23.1 million for services provided by the Department of Mental Health and $11.3 million for programs at the University of Missouri and Missouri State University to train more health care professionals in southwest Missouri. The Governor's action today restores K-12 classroom funding to the record level recommended in his Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal. Of the remaining restricted funds, $175 million represent two-year budget items for capital improvement projects.
In addition, the Governor has requested that the state budget director review the fiscal impact on the state budget of yesterday's ruling by a national arbitration panel regarding payments to states under the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.