House prepares for higher education budget mark-up session

By Jordan Shapiro

JEFFERSON CITY – A House committee is expected to endorse the governor’s proposed higher education budget cuts later this week.

Gov. Jay Nixon’s 2012 proposed budget calls for a 7 percent reduction in state higher education funding. The House Education Appropriations Committee will meet Tuesday to mark up the budget. The committee chairman, Rep. Mike Lair, R-Chillicothe, said he expects the slashed budget will pass unamended through the committee.

“As of right now, it is going to be a 7 percent cut,” Lair said.

One Democrat on the committee said there would be a way to avoid the funding reduction.

“There are other things to do beside cut,” said Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia.

Still said a cigarette tax would be one way to increase the state’s revenue.

Lair warned that nothing is certain until the mark-up session ends on Tuesday.