Governor Jay Nixon ran on restoring 65,000 Missourians to the Medicaid program, cut by former Governor Blunt. Governor Nixon plans to pay for this by charging a Missouri Hospital tax and by reimbursements from the federal government. In the short run this a sound idea; however, given escalating health care costs it is likely that the program will be running large deficits in the near future.
The Republican led House of Representatives cuts the Governorís 2010 budget significantly in the areas of social services and the Department of Corrections. The House of Representativesí cuts in the higher education budget are balanced by utilizing federal stimulus dollars.
Both the Governor and the House of Representatives rely too heavily on anticipated federal stimulus funds to balance their respective 2010 state budgets. If President Obama lives up to his commitment to reduce the federal deficit by half by 2012, these will be among the first federal funds cut to the states. Therefore, the Governor, the State Senate and the House of Representatives have a great deal of work to do to balance Missouriís 2010 state budget as well as to plan for Missouriís future state-funded programs and services.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.