The Missouri legislature passed its $24 state billion budget last week. While many legislators noted how painful it was passing the budget in difficult economic times, they were not willing to increase revenue by stopping some existing tax credits or taxing internet sales as have most states. Instead they cut child literacy programs, Parents as Teachers funding, significantly reduced early head start funding, and foster care and other programs that benefit low income children. The legislators said they reached their main goal of passing a balanced state budget without increasing taxes.
The state legislature took other actions that are hard for me to understand.
- House Bill 1534 declares the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and creates criminal penalties for persons enforcing or attempting to implement the federal health care law in Missouri.
- Senate Bill 464 prohibits the Governor from moving to establish a competitive health insurance exchange in Missouri as required by federal law. This bill also allows individuals to sue the state departments and state employees if they work to establish an insurance exchange in Missouri.
The final fate of both bills will be determined later this week before the legislature adjourns.
This has been a very interesting legislative session where we potentially make it illegal to implement federal health care law and at the same time cut benefits to the poor and at risk children and their families. Missouri citizens deserve better than this.