From the Kirksville Daily Express:
Missouri’s public libraries have fallen onto the state budget chopping block, with appropriations approved by the Legislature in two key areas less than half the amount seen at any point this century.
The Missouri Legislature on Thursday finalized a $26 billion budget for the next fiscal year. Of that total the state will spend $2 million in Remote Electronic Access for Libraries (REAL) Program funds and $723,776 in state aid for the about 140 public libraries.
State aid, which is disbursed based upon the number of people in a public library district, was cut 79 percent from last year’s appropriation of $3,504,001. REAL funds, which subsidize costs for internet access at public libraries, was cut 36 percent from last year’s $3,109,250 appropriation.
The only areas the Legislature left untouched were revenues directed to libraries from the Arts & Entertainment tax ($800,000) and state and federal funds for competitive library grants.
The budget has been delivered to Gov. Jay Nixon for his consideration.
“That’s a significant hit for libraries across the state of Missouri,” said Jim Schmidt, chairperson of the Missouri Library Association’s legislative committee. Libraries have little flexibility in terms of trimming their expenses, Schmidt said, noting materials, hours of operation and personnel are the only areas in which they have discretion to make up for lost state funding.
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