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Advocacy group: Federal dollars key to short-term state budget fix

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The head of a non-partisan budget research group says federal money will be the only way to turn around the slumping national and state economy.

Numbers from the Missouri Budget Project show lawmakers grappling with a $300 million gap in the current budget and a $900 million deficit next year.

In the long run, said Budget Project executive director Amy Blouin, the state should modernize its sales tax structure and make it easier for the state to access its rainy day fund in economic downturns. But Blouin says a federal stimulus that also increases the reimbursement rate for Medicaid is the only way to immediately jump start the economy.

Because the additional health care money is instantly available, Blouin said, "that frees up other general revenue to go to a variety of other services, or to fill the hole."

Governor-elect Jay Nixon is in Pennsylvania to lobby President-elect Barack Obama for such a package.


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