On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty to the program.
The Kansas City Democrat has been the leader of Missouri House Democrats since 2017. She’s often the public face for a 46-member caucus that regularly faces an uphill battle to outflank the Republican supermajority on key issues.
Most of the attention in Jefferson City these days is over uncertainty around Gov. Eric Greitens. He spoke to reporters on Jan. 22, for the first time since admitting to an extramarital affair before he became governor. Greitens has denied allegations he blackmailed a woman into keeping the infidelity secret and repeatedly said he won’t resign from office.
In the midst of political uncertainty, Greitens last week unveiled his proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The document includes cuts for higher education and the state’s Medicaid program. It comes as both Greitens and Republican lawmakers have expressed interest in cutting taxes, which hasn’t been universally well-received within the General Assembly.
Here’s what McCann Beatty had to say during the program:
- She’s worried how further tax cuts could dry up funds for state services. “We’re looking at balancing our budget on the backs of our senior citizens,” she said. “We really need to look where we are right now. And to start proposing additional tax cuts isn’t what we need to be doing at this moment.”
- She warned that Missouri could end up being in a worse position than Kansas after that state passed tax cuts in 2012. That’s because Kansas lawmakers can raise taxes to deal with a funding shortfall. Missouri’s constitution requires most tax increases to go to statewide votes.
- McCann Beatty said news of the governor’s affair and the allegations of blackmail have created a “distraction” in Jefferson City. “People are much more cautious in what they file and that being related to the governor,” she said.
- She said she’s developed a good relationship over the years with GOP Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, who served in the Missouri House and Senate before winning statewide office in 2016. Parson would become governor if Greitens changes course and resigns.
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Follow Gail McCann Beatty on Twitter: @GailBeatty
Music: “Song for Dan Treacy” by MGMT