By JORDAN SHAPIRO
(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., AP) — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is asking the Legislature for $10 million for Lincoln University to acquire and renovate a soon-to-be vacant hospital in Jefferson City for nursing and culinary classes.
Nixon said Monday that the money will allow the state capital city’s historically black college to expand its academic programs and keep intact St. Mary’s Hospital, which was established in 1905.
“That’s a lot of money. We are betting on you all,” Nixon told a group of nursing students during his announcement Monday.
St. Mary’s Hospital is moving to a new location in Jefferson City at the end of this year. Lincoln University President Kevin Rome said acquiring the location would benefit the nursing program by letting students work in a hospital setting and provide enough space for the university to start a culinary arts program.
The Democratic governor previously said he would also recommend a $36.7 million increase for all of Missouri’s public universities and colleges for the fiscal year beginning in July.
Nixon has also indicated he will ask lawmakers for a $15 million increase for the merit-based Bright Flight scholarship and has urged the state’s four-year universities, including Lincoln, to freeze undergraduate tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year.
While the additional money for Lincoln drew praise from Sen. Mike Kehoe, a Jefferson City Republican, a disagreement between Nixon and the GOP-controlled Legislature over state revenue could jeopardize some of the governor’s proposals.
For the first time in a decade, Nixon and the Legislature’s top budget writers were unable to agree on how much money Missouri is expected to take in over the next fiscal year. The traditional agreement serves as a foundation for building a budget so the discussion can focus on how to spend the money officials agree is available.
“I am convinced our economy continues to move forward,” Nixon told reporters after saying his revenue projection was about $120 million more than the Republicans’. “Everyone knows I am really conservative.”
Republicans stand behind their estimate and say they are being realistic about the state’s projected revenue.
Nixon will outline his entire budget proposal Tuesday before his State of the State address.