In his news release, Greitens announced he was making $250 million in unilateral cuts to the FY 2018 budget, which took effect July 1.
In the list he provided of the individual cuts, the total amount is listed as $251 million. However, if you add up every single item, the total comes to $280 million. But $60 million listed as a cut isn’t really a cut but a supplemental appropriation he says he won’t ask for later.
So, the governor’s math is all over the place, which doesn’t instill confidence in the administration’s ability to manage a $27 billion state budget.
But whatever the actual number is — $251 million, $280 million or $220 million — the cuts are real and significant, and Missourians will feel their impact.
That impact, once again, will fall hardest on higher education. In February, the governor proposed cutting operational funding for public colleges and universities by more than 10 percent, but the legislature trimmed the cuts back to 6.5 percent.
Greitens cut another $24 million from what the legislature authorized so that colleges and universities will take a 9 percent cut in their basic appropriations for FY 2018.
Plus, the governor eliminated another $12 million in funding for cooperative programs involving various public universities.
While elementary and secondary education was largely spared from the governor’s budget ax, it wasn’t completely unscathed as he eliminated $15 million for local school districts transportation costs.
While the state funding is gone, students will still need to be transported, which will force already cash-strapped local schools to eat the extra cost.