Democrats believe Governor’s MOHELA plan is short-sighted at best

Parker Willis

Senate Democrats announced a plan to make MOHELA assets more accessible to students instead of using funds for capital improvements.

Sen. Wes Shoemyer (D-Shelbina) announced his plan in opposition to the one offered by Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

He and other Democrats oppose the plan because it has too many stipulations and focuses more on capital assets than students.

“Our future of the state of Missouri is not in a facility, it is in the minds of the young folks that we educate,” Shoemyer said.

Currently the governor’s Lewis and Clark Initiative plans to sell loans to pay for capital improvements at Missouri colleges and universities.

The Democrats believe instead of selling off one lump sum that 1.5 percent of MOHELA’s assets should be transferred annually.

“Why would you want to sell the cash cow when you can milk it every day?” Shoemyer said.

He also said this plan has already identified a source of revenue.

“Instead of selling off our assets we, as Democrats, encourage MOHELA to invest in growth,” Shoemyer said.

The plan will also expand Bright Flight from $2000 a year to $4000 a year for each student.

“That way we keep the brightest and best students in the state,” Shoemyer said. “It also gives loan forgiveness.”

Shoemyer said the Democrats plan will be able to do much more with MOHELA’s money than the Lewis and Clark Initiative. Though he hasn’t consulted the MOHELA Board, he has talked with individuals who support his plan.

“What Missourians will be most comfortable about is that you’re not selling off the farm, you’re investing and growing,” Shoemyer said.

Funds from the partial sale of MOHELA assets would come to Missouri Southern to finance construction of a health sciences building.