On the final Friday of the 2014 legislative session, Missouri lawmakers passed a series of bills offering tax breaks to several corporations and businesses. Governor Nixon vetoed them, calling them favors to big businesses, or “#FridayFavors”.
As the days draw nearer for the Missouri Legislature to reconvene for their veto session on September 10th, you will be hear this nickname repeatedly in news, conversation and here on Missouri Parent.
Why did the governor veto those bills? In part, because Missouri’s General Revenue budget, which funds K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, can’t afford to lose any more income. The “Friday Favors” would mean a projected $776 million decrease in Missouri’s state and local government general revenue. TWEET THIS
The reason this matters to a child—no matter how old—is that if he or she attends public school in Missouri, he or she is among the group of Missourians who will suffer the most if the Governor’s vetoes are overridden on September 10th: Missouri’s students.
The tax breaks offered by the General Assembly will directly affect the state’s General Revenue budget—45% of which is dedicated exclusively to spending on our state’s schools.
Even with the passage of a recent appropriations bill, which increased state education funding by $115 million, the Missouri Foundation Formula (Missouri’s Foundation Formula explained) is still underfunded by more than $500 million.
Taking another possible $119 million away from Missouri’s schools via tax cuts is not the answer for the next generation of Missourians. If you have a child in school in Missouri, “Friday Favors” could mean that:
· Student-to-teacher ratios will get worse as teachers and other staff are laid off to save money. TWEET THIS
· Students with disabilities will have less access to high quality staff, buildings, and supplies. TWEET THIS
· Young, at-risk students will receive decreased support from the Early Grade Literacy Program. TWEET THIS
· Students who participate in career or technical education will have access to fewer resources. TWEET THIS
· Early childhood education programs like Parents as Teachers and the Missouri Preschool Program will receive less funding. TWEET THIS
· Less college tuition assistance will be available for students through the A+ Program. TWEET THIS
· Funding for after school programs like tutoring will be reduced. TWEET THIS
· Less support will be available for schools like those in Joplin that are damaged by extreme weather. TWEET THIS
Lawmakers might be able to offset the impact these changes will have on their children by paying for privatized extracurricular activities, tutoring, and literacy programs, or by paying for private school altogether. The average Missouri parent, however, doesn’t have those options. That’s why these tax breaks matter so much.
If your child will be affected by any of the impacts listed above, Missouri Parent strongly urges you to contact your local representative.
Let him or her know that your child matters, and that you want Governor Nixon’s vetoes to be upheld when the General Assembly reconvenes on September 10th for veto session. We also ask you to share this information with your friends and fellow parents across Missouri.
The legislature may have the raw numbers to override the Governor’s vetoes but the votes will be close. Your call to your local representative and senator may be the one which protects thousands of students in Missouri.
Posted on Tue, September 2, 2014
by MOParent filed under