Governor Jay Nixon (D) has issued a statement on the legislature’s passage Thursday of its proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget.
Nixon says lawmakers followed his lead in offering more support for individuals with developmental disabilities and helping more people afford college educations, but criticizes the legislature for not heeding his call to expand Medicaid eligibility to 138-percent of the federal poverty level.
He is also critical of the tiered budget approach legislators took to compensate for the fact that they couldn’t come to agreement with his office on how much revenue the state would bring in, in Fiscal Year 2015.
Nixon’s statement reads:
“‘From making college more affordable to expanding services for Missourians with developmental disabilities, this budget includes many of the priorities I laid out earlier this year,’ Gov. Nixon said. ‘These smart, strategic investments in our future are made possible by an economy that continues to pick up steam.
“The Fiscal Year 2015 budget passed by the General Assembly includes Gov. Nixon’s proposals to eliminate the waiting list for Medicaid in-home developmental disability services, freeze tuition for Missouri undergraduates at public universities for the upcoming school year, and provide additional technology and career-support for staff at the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services. The budget also includes the Governor’s plan for a strategic bond issuance to rebuild Fulton State Mental Hospital, the state’s only maximum-security psychiatric facility.
“‘While making progress in many areas, in other respects the legislature missed the mark by failing to make K-12 education the priority and refusing to strengthen Medicaid,’ Gov. Nixon said. ‘Quality public schools are vital to the strength of our communities and the health of our economy, but many in this legislature simply don’t agree. For example, the legislature has chosen to subject K-12 education to a conditional funding mechanism that creates uncertainty for local school districts. In the coming days and weeks, this budget will get a careful, line-by-line review to ensure we maintain fiscal discipline and keep the state moving forward.'”