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Nixon reverses $8.5 million in cuts to higher education

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Gov. Jay Nixon reversed an $8.5 million funding cut to Missouri public colleges and universities on Monday while citing improved state tax revenues.

The funding for higher education institutions, which amounts to about 1 percent of their state allotments, had been blocked by Nixon since the state budget took effect last summer. But Nixon released the money as his administration reported Monday that state revenues were up 9.5 percent almost two-thirds of the way through the fiscal year, compared to the same point the previous year.

Nixon also released several hundred thousand dollars that he had previously blocked from being spent on foster care programs, child-care subsidies and the State Historical Society of Missouri.

The Democratic governor had placed spending restrictions on about $15 million of items in the state’s $24 billion operating budget when he signed it last June. At the time, he cited concerns about

whether the Missouri Lottery would generate enough new money to meet the budget expectations and the continued need to set aside money to pay for expenses from the deadly 2011 Joplin tornado and other natural disasters.

Even with Monday’s decision, Nixon still has a block on nearly $6 million of budgeted expenditures, including several programs for K-12 schools and various social services.

He said funding decisions for those programs could depend on state revenues over the next 15-30 days.

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