As many of you are aware, Governor Greitens announced a $146 million spending restriction to make up for a projected revenue shortfall. The amount apportioned to the Missouri State University system is approximately $6.3 million.
The percentage increase in state revenue this year to date is only 2.2 percent vs. a projected increase of 4.1 percent. This comes after the state revenue for last year increased by 0.9 percent vs. a projected increase of 2.8 percent. Consequently, the state must close the gap.
What this means to Missouri State
The university expected spending restrictions given the state’s revenue shortfall. Because of our enrollment growth and the work we have done to increase efficiency and quality at Missouri State, we have the ability to manage through this readjustment of funds using reserve funding. We are not expecting more restrictions on the current fiscal year’s budget.
State annual appropriations are paid monthly to the university. The $6.3 million restriction is the equivalent of withholding one month’s payment. This withhold will be spread over the next 5 months making it more manageable. To fully understand the impact, Missouri State was awarded a 4.5 percent budget increase for fiscal year 2017, which runs from July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017. The $6.3 million is approximately 7.1 percent of our current appropriations, so not only are we “returning” the 4.5 percent increase, but also an additional 2.7 percent from the prior year which takes us to a funding level below our Fiscal Year 2015 budget.
However, if these cuts become permanent, or if additional cuts become part of next year’s budget, we will have difficult decisions to make in the coming weeks and months about raising tuition and fees and reducing services. We could essentially be returning permanently to state appropriation levels from fiscal year 2014 or 2015. We’ll have a better understanding after the Governor releases his proposed budget for the state in early February.
Our goal for the immediate future is to develop principles and priorities to guide us in the process so that we are organized, rational and consistent in our consideration of budget adjustments for fiscal year 2018, which begins on July 1. The Executive Budget Committee and our Chief Financial Officer will lead us through this process.
Shortly after the state budget is released, we will hold a town hall meeting to share information, receive input and review the process set up to make tough decisions on how to handle the short-term withholding and the potential long-term budget reductions.
It is more important now than ever that we continue to move the university forward. Stay positive; developing a bunker mentality will not help us solve these funding problems. We must remain committed to our goal of increasing the number of graduates through growth in enrollment and by increasing retention and graduation rates and enhancing the campus climate.
Thanks for all you do for Missouri State!