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Thursday, January 25, 2007

State of the State

On Jan. 21, Blunt delivered his third State of the State address outlining his policy agenda and budget priorities. His $21.44 billion budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1 includes additional funds for K-12 and higher education and $102.7 million in net tax cuts. Blunt proposed a total of $132.7 million in tax cuts, but that amount would be partially offset by a $30 million sales tax increase on certain businesses to reverse a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision.
The governor also proposes renaming the state’s Medicaid program Missouri HealthNet. Although Blunt pledged that with the renamed program Missouri “will guarantee that every participant has access to primary and preventative care” it would restore coverage to only a few thousand of the 177,000 Missourians who lost their Medicaid benefits since the governor cut the program in 2005.
The governor recommended that public colleges and universities receive a budget boost of about 4.5 percent – far less than the 12.5 percent recommended by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and endorsed by House Democrats. The governor plans to leave $200 million in expected revenue unspent.

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