Nixon and GOP legislative leaders are expecting a 3.1 percent growth in state revenues during the next fiscal year. Patrick Werner heads the Missouri Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, which advocates for fiscally conservative practices. He says any left over money should either be returned to taxpayers or socked away in the state’s Rainy Day fund.
“If there’s positive revenue growth in Missouri, maybe we don’t start with spending, you know?" Werner said. "Maybe since we have hard times, the first thing we consider is maybe giving some of that back, versus the knee-jerk reaction of, ‘how are we gonna spend this?’”
Werner’s group also opposes using any budget surplus to help pay for any expansion of Medicaid.
“They talk about the federal government end(ing) up paying the lion’s share of it in beginning years, and they reduce their percentage of it in the out years, but to when?" Werner said. "Are we guaranteed that that’s going to happen? I mean, the federal government in and of itself is in financial distress.”
Governor Nixon wants to expand Medicaid to an additional 300,000 Missourians. He cites a study by the University of Missouri - Columbia and the Missouri Hospital Association that says expanding Medicaid in Missouri would create more than 24,000 jobs. Several Republican lawmakers have vowed to kill the proposal, saying it will raise everyone’s tax and debt burdens. The 2013 session begins January 9th.
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