JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – During his annual address to a joint session of the General Assembly, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon laid out his agenda for the upcoming legislative session – calling for more than $490 million in increased education spending and for the General Assembly to expand Medicaid.
Nixon’s budget calls for a $278 million boost to the state’s K-12 foundation formula, fulfilling half of his pledge to fully fund schools by 2017. Nixon also called for $42 million performance based funding for colleges and universities, $22 million for STEM careers, a $4.5 million boost to the Missouri Works training program, and a $1 million boost to the state’s Innovation Campus initiative.
“Now it’s time to decide whether we’re going to merely talk about public education or whether we’re going to fund it,” Nixon said. “It’s time to put our budgets where our campaign brochures are.”
Republicans, who are split with Nixon over what’s called the consensus revenue figure – an annual projection of how much money the state will have in the next fiscal year – said flatly, “we’re not going to go along with his numbers.”
“We are not going to spend more than we think is going to come in,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream, R-St. Louis.
Nixon renewed his pledge to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of poor Missourians using 100 percent federal funds. The $1.7 billion expansion assumes more than $77 million in savings to the state by shifting costs to the federal government.
“We all know there are problems with Obamacare, and Washington’s implementation of it has been abysmal,” Nixon said. “But rejecting Medicaid won’t fix any of those things. It won’t keep Missourians from having to pay federal taxes, or exempt our businesses from new requirements under the law.”
House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said Tuesday night they were against his proposal to flat-out expand Medicaid using federal funds.
Nixon also renewed his call for tax credit reform and campaign finance limits, and delivered a paragraph urging the Missouri House to act in passing the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act.
“We need to end discrimination against LGBT Missourians in the workplace,” Nixon said. “No Missourian should be fired because of who they are or who they love.”
On Wednesday, the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee will begin meeting to consider Nixon’s $28 billion budget proposal.