Missouri, like nearly every state in the union, is facing a massive budget shortfall next year: $750 million.
You could call Governor Jay Nixon’s plan to make up the difference “creative” to say the least… if by "creative" you meant "freakin’ crazy".
Spending cuts, entitlement reforms, cutting the government workforce, actual economic development, de-regulation, tort reform… these are all issues that should be on the table when it comes down to crunch-time in a situation like this.
So what does Jay Nixon do?
He asks for $107 million in no-interest loans from Missouri’s universities.
Yes, you read that right.
Jay Nixon wants to take over a hundred million dollars from Missouri’s universities – the Univ. of Mo. system, MSU-Springfield, UCM-Warrensburg, Truman State, and SMSU – and ‘roll’ that money into the budget.
Adding insult to injury, Nixon’s plan would also cut the state’s scholarship funding in half, forcing the universities to make up the sizeable difference.
Additionally, the universities would have no guarantee on repayment of the loans… and we all know how good governments are at handling money – especially Missouri’s.
And if it were to be paid back in full and on time – over a span of seven years – the money Nixon’s administration plans to repay the loans with would be siphoned from the state’s college loan authority.
It’s a plan that Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, likened to a “Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme” that may be designed “to make it look like something's being funded that isn't really being funded…”
This “idea” – if you can even call it that – is a joke. A very dangerous joke.
With one calamity after another becoming the standard operating procedure in the Nixon administration one question springs to mind:
What fresh hell is next?