JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Missouri’s revenue has caused Governor Mike Parson to veto parts of the 2021 budget bills passed by the General Assembly and to withhold over $448 million of that budget to compensate.
“Needless to say, when COVID-19 hit Missouri in March, everything changed including our state budget,” Parson said. “We could have never imagined this where we would be today, but we've had to face the reality and make some extremely difficult decisions about our budget.”
The governor’s office released a list of the $448 million of budget withholds. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will have $132,554,893 withheld across multiple departments including $6,470,893 from the Bright Flight Scholarship program. The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development will be restricted from $55,008,969 from the approved budget which includes $18,442,057 from community colleges and $27,935,760 for four-year higher education institutions
The Department of Public Safety will have $2,600,121 withheld from its budget. You can find the full list of restrictions here.
“On the budget process, I know a lot will be said about education,” Parson said. “They're two of the largest pools of funding in the state. We've been in contact with DESE, Higher Education, the community college throughout this entire process for them to know what was coming, that there would be no surprises.”
Parson pointed out that not as much was being withheld from workforce programs.
“Some pieces that will stay in place because we know to rebuild the economy, we're going to have to continue to build on our workforce development,” the governor said.
Missouri Budget Director Dan Haug called it the most difficult budget he’s worked on in his experience.
“Revenues declined much quicker, quicker and sharper during this downturn than even during the Great Recession,” Haug said.
Haug said they removed almost all new spending from the budget. He also addressed some of the bigger restrictions like from higher education and the $123,358,675 being restricted from Foundation Formula.
“Both the K-12 Foundation Formula and higher ed will receive the same amount of funding in fiscal year ‘21, as they did in fiscal year ‘20 after the restrictions that were put in place,” Haug said.
Parson said if the state was able to increase revenues some of that money could be released from restrictions.
“We are hopeful that the economy will bounce back quickly and that we may be able to release some of these funds as the year goes on,” he said.
You can read the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation bills here.