The legislature in Jefferson City is correctly looking for ways to curb spending in order to balance the Missouri state budget. The governor presented his budget to the legislature that the House is now considering, and it is not unusual for the Republican House members to disagree with the Democratic governor’s recommendations. Some big numbers in budget cuts are being discussed because both the Governor and the legislature refuse to look at ways to increase revenues, especially since the federal stimulus money is no longer available.
The Senate has created a new Special Committee to look at ways to save money in Missouri’s social service programs. A House subcommittee has recommended severe cuts in Medicaid funding for the poor. The governor is suggesting large cuts to higher education. It is interesting that education, social services and Medicaid are being initially targeted for huge budget cuts discussion. In some ways, that is not surprising, because these three topics account for more than 65 percent of state expenditures.
What is disappointing is that the governor and legislators are not willing to consider increasing revenue by taxing Internet sales. Most states do this, and Missouri is missing out. We have to stop reducing the quality of education we provide for our children and drastically cutting the safety net programs for the poor. We need to increase state revenue in a fair and transparent way. Many Republican and Democratic legislators are willing to consider this option…if only the Republican leaders and the governor are willing to provide leadership and support.