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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

State needs lesson from the University

Thursday, June 26, 2003

"The University of Missouri system should be applauded for their prudent fiscal policies."

The Missouri legislature should take a clue from the University of Missouri when it comes to cutting expenses. The University announced Wednesday that $685,000 in salaries were being saved there by consolidating positions within the university system. The move will not impact students nor the level of education. But it will save money and that's the key to downsizing.

The Missouri legislature continues at loggerheads with Gov. Bob Holden over approval of the state budget. I'm getting lost in all of the numbers because they seem to change daily. In essence, Holden wants to generate more money through tax hikes and the GOP-controlled legislature wants to cut expenses. The devil's in the details but that's the tone of the debate.

Meanwhile, the University of Missouri knew full-well that it was facing a reduction in state revenues. First the university raised tuition by almost 20 percent. As the father of a Mizzou student, I don't relish the prospect of higher tuition costs. But as a taxpayer, I equally don't want higher taxes. Thus the debate.

But Mizzou officials are now consolidating positions. They are asking their administrative staff to take on more responsibilities without short-changing education. And the plan is working.

The legislature and the Governor need to examine the state expenses line by line. Cuts should be made if and where they will have little or no impact on state services. A report two weeks ago indicated that Missouri state government employee base is higher than most surrounding states. That could indicate areas where additional cuts can be made if the budget remains unbalanced. If no more cuts can be made, then sources of revenue should be explored. But I believe we have yet to reach the point on reductions that is possible. And apparently a majority of the legislature agrees with that position.

The University of Missouri system should be applauded for their prudent fiscal policies. And they should serve as an example for the folks serving us down in Jefferson City.



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