JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has announced the first $146.4 million of budget cuts for 2017.
Greitens says more than $700 million in cuts are needed over the next 18 months to balance the budget and keep the state's AAA credit rating.
The Republican governor says the budget is “suffering from reduced revenue due to poor economic growth.” He said the revenue is “being drained
by special interest tax credits and the faster-than-projected growth in health care expenditures, driven in part by the national impact of Obamacare.”
The University of Missouri and other four-year universities will be hit the hardest with almost $56 million on the chopping block. Click here for a list of 2017 budget restrictions.
While both sides agreed that the budget cuts were disappointing, Republicans say there was no other choice.
Republican Rep. Craig Redmon of Monticello tells ABC 17 News, "When you have a budget amendment sometimes your hands get tied and the piece of the pie is only so big."
Democratic Rep. Kip Kendrick of Columbia tells ABC 17 News that students will suffer in the end.
"We are continuing to see public higher education take the brunt of budget cuts," Kendrick said. "Increasing tuition and student debt is a major issue in the state and nation."
Both, Republicans and Democrats agreed to work together to solve the issue so funding can be put back into higher education sooner rather than later.
The University of Missouri released a e-mail statement to ABC 17 News saying:
"We certainly understand that our state leaders have to make difficult decisions in challenging budgetary times. We are committed to working closely with out new Governor and General Assembly in making the case for the University of Missouri System's enormous positive impact on all of Missouri's citizens and economy."
Rep. Kip Kendrick also said income and sales tax collection are meeting predictions, but a lack of corporate tax income is causing a problem.
Kendrick says, “Corporate entities are paying a lot less taxes this year than they have in the past. Part of that is a loophole in a bill that was passed in 2015.:” Kendrick also said the lack of corporate tax revenue makes it “all but impossible for us to fund our state priorities."
If some Republicans get their way, corporations won't be helping to bail the state out of its money woes anytime soon.
Senate Bill 17 is making its way through the state House. Sen. Will Kraus’ (R- Lee’s Summit) measure would reduce corporate income tax next year before eliminating it entirely after 2019.Gov. Eric Greitens announced more than $146 million in budget cuts Monday after one week in office.
The governor is expected to further detail his plans during his State of the State address on Tuesday.