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Senate Cuts Higher Ed Budget

The higher education budget that cleared the senate today (Wednesday) is 84 million dollars less than what lawmakers appropriated last year. Missy Shelton reports.

It was a near party line vote that sent the higher education budget forward.

The senate rejected amendments from democrats that would've raised funding for higher education.

Some democratis argued that less funding for higher education means higher tuition.

Democratic floor leader Ken Jacob says that's essentially a tax.

But Republicans defend their budget plan.

Republican senator Norma Champion says lawmakers are doing all they can given the circumstances.

Champion is referring to 200 million dollars in new revenue that would be generated through various bills lawmakers are expected to debate this week...None of the revenue-generating bills call for large tax increases.

But it's unclear if lawmakers will approve those revenue-generating bills...Some are controversial, like the bill that would remove the 500 dollar loss limit on gaming.

Champion says controversial or not, she's considering all the possibilities.

Scrutinizing but not accepting every possibility.

After scrutinizing an amendment from democratic senator Ken Jacob, the senate voted against the elimination of the academic Bright Flight scholarships and the needs-based Gallagher program.

Jacob said he wanted to take the money from these two programs and put it into the needs-based College Guarantee program...He said the consolidation of the programs would bring Missouri more federal dollars.

There's been a threat looming over the senate as it's worked on the budget. Earlier this week, democratic governor Bob Holden threatened to veto the senate's budget plan because he says the cuts are too deep.

I'm Missy Shelton for KSMU News.