by Emily Donaldson
The University of Missouri System is looking to join 26 other states in a program that would allow the system to access a new source of revenue for it’s extension program.
The extension program, first established when the system accepted federal lands through a land grant program, requires that the universities provide access to research and community outreach throughout the state.
The chair of the Senate Education Committee, Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, sponsored the bill as a way in which the extension program can receive additional funding through voter-approved taxes. Currently, groups called extension councils work to support the research and extension programs at the University of Missouri and Lincoln University. With the passage of Pearce’s bill, the councils would also adopt the responsibilities of overseeing the collection of voter-authorized taxes and working to plan and facilitate any additional programming sponsored by the taxes.
Each district will have its own vote, allowing for voters to support or reject the tax.
“It’s obviously voluntary, not anything that anyone has to do,” Pearce said.