Gov. Jay Nixon is easing of some of the budget cuts he made earlier this year after an uptick in September tax revenues.

In an announcement last week, the Democrat said he was releasing $12.1 million he’d been holding after the fiscal year got off to a slow start in July.

The money includes $6 million for public schools, as well as $3 million for school transportation, which had been cut by $16.5 million. “Public education has always been a top priority for Missourians, and the continued solid growth of our economy is making it possible to put this funding into our schools,” Nixon said. “We continue to provide record funding for our classrooms, and I’m pleased to have this money go to our public schools.”

Also released was $400,000 for the University of Missouri-Kansas City Neighborhood Initiative, which is designed to revitalize 18 urban neighborhoods. Nixon also provided $1 million for federally qualified health centers to help them get more federal funding.

He also released $1.7 million for a lake project in Sullivan County, located in north central Missouri.

Nixon withheld nearly $175 million from the $27 billion budget, which included funds for road projects, schools, public defenders and a review commission studying the University of Missouri.

He said September’s revenue growth, which topped 5.8 percent, gave him the flexibility to release some of the money.

Nonetheless, a recent report showed tax revenue for the first quarter of the fiscal year is still short of what lawmakers, and Nixon had hoped for when building this year’s budget blueprint.

Since July 1, tax collections have increased 3.6 percent. The growth rate at the end of the year must be at least 5.5 percent in order for the budget to be balanced.

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