During Tuesday evening’s State of the State, Governor Jay Nixon outlined several of his key budget priorities contained in his proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget including: investing in and improving education at all levels, helping businesses continue to create jobs, strengthening our mental health safety net, balancing the budget while holding the line on taxes, and Medicaid expansion/reform.
Specific to Medicaid expansion, Nixon’s budget proposal includes $907.5 million in federal funds to pay for the first year of expansion that would add approximately 259,000 low-income adults. Under the expansion, the federal government would cover 100 percent of the costs through 2016 totaling $5.7 billion. The state would then be responsible for a phased-in portion of the costs, but not to exceed 10 percent.
In terms of education spending, the K-12 funding formula would see an additional $278 million which represents half of what is needed to fully fund the formula. Higher education would also see a boost of $42 million.
Several revenue collection measures were noted as priorities including sales tax fairness and tax amnesty. Tax amnesty is estimated to increase collections by $61.4 million, including $51.8 million in general revenue.
Hot topic issues that did not make the priority list were student transfers, transportation funding, tax credits, and campaign contribution limits.
Following Tuesday’s State of the State, key budget committees met Wednesday morning to hear from State Budget Director, Linda Luebbering, who noted moderate budget growth of 2.8 percent for the current fiscal year and projected growth of 5.2 percent for Fiscal Year 2015.
With the State of the State behind us, the House and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees will begin full hearings on the recommendations put forward by the Governor. Budget bills must be Truly Agreed and Finally Passed by 6:00 p.m. May 9th.
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