Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Blunt Calls for Big Spending Boosts

"I won't rest until every Missourian has access to affordable healthcare."
"The Governor's plan does nothing to fix the damage."
"It is Jay Nixon's job to gripe about our success."
Sitting on a budget surplus, Governor Matt Blunt proposed dishing out millions of new dollars for education, healthcare and crime-fighting in his fourth State of the State address.
But Democrats charge his new spending priorities come at the expense of those Blunt cut from the Medicaid rolls.
You can watch our special panel's reaction to Blunt's State of the State speech HERE. Participants included three Republicans, ranging in views from moderate to conservative, a Missouri State University professor and a disability advocate with the Southwest Center for Independent Living.
Blunt's entire speech has been posted on YouTube HERE.
You can watch Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon's response to the address HERE.
“Democrats believe we must change direction. But let’s be clear, we’re not talking about raising taxes. We’re talking about investing your tax dollars in people," Nixon said. “You will hear a lot of talk from the Governor about his health care scheme, but make no mistake: It does nothing to help the elderly or Missourians with disabilities. And it does nothing to cover the 127,000 children without health insurance. Its objective is to take money from regular Missourians who need health care and put it in the pockets of the HMOs and insurance companies." Nixon added.
Blunt's office quickly responded to Nixon's speech with this: “It is my job to report to the people of Missouri on how the changes we are making are working for the best interests of Missouri. It is Jay Nixon’s job to gripe about our success in terms that serve his interests and the interests of his political campaign."
Blunt's proposals for tax cuts seemed to impress the Republicans on the KY3 political panel, but some expressed concern about the large amount of spending. "I'm glad to see he was committed to cutting taxes," said conservative Paul Seale. "But I'm a little concerned about the spending on social programs."
Former legislative candidate Joe Pyles said he liked Blunt's plan to cut property taxes. "I'm pleased to see him maturing in his leadership," Pyles said.
Republican Matt Lyons called the speech "easily the best one he has delivered as Governor." "He made a strong case for his election, and he'll be a strong candidate in the fall," Lyons said.
But Marion Trimble of the Southwest Center for Independent Living said she wished she had heard more from the Governor about his plan for the Ticket-to-Work program, which allows low-income disabled people to work for health care coverage. "The program enables people to go to work, it's a bridge of freedom."
Dr. Andy Cline of Missouri State University said the speech was at times a typical laundry list of legislative goodies that politicians dole out in election years. He said Blunt's call to execute sex offenders who rape children could run into some legislative if not legal problems.
The following is a quick rundown of what Gov. Blunt proposed in his speech:
  • $5 million dollars for 100 technically advanced classrooms
  • $1.1 million dollars for after-school programs
  • $25 million dollars for student scholarships to community colleges
  • Banning of lobbyist gifts to the entire executive branch of state government
  • Constitutional measure to prevent Missouri judges from imposing new taxes
  • Mandatory levy rollbacks on property taxes
  • $2.5 million dollars for the mental health of veterans
  • Eliminating all state income taxes on military retiree benefits
  • Implementing a B5 biodiesel standard
  • $400,000 for energy audits of municipality water systems
  • Week-long tax sales tax holiday on purchases of environmentally-friendly Energy Star appliances
  • Requiring sex offenders to add e-mail addresses to their online profiles
  • Making the rape of a Missouri child punishable by the death penalty
  • Endorsing English as the state's official language
  • Several illegal immigration initiatives, including making it a crime to transport any illegal immigrant


Sandy said...

I can't wait for the day when a candidate comes along and says, "I won't rest until every Missourian HAS healthcare." That's the only person that I will be able to confidently put my vote behind.

I'm so tired of hearing the phrase "access to affordable healthcare". It means nothing anymore. What about families who fall within the boundaries of receiving affordable healthcare but still can't afford to pay for it? What's affordable to some is not affordable to all. As in our case, we make enough money to pay for affordable healthcare but still can't pay for it because of previous medical bills. My children have no health insurance because of MY medical bills. Something is not right here and I don't hear anyone doing anything about it except changing the names of all the programs and trying to fix programs that were fine to begin with.

It's aggravating to see Blunt trying to repair the mistakes to programs he ruined in the first place. I agree with your roundtable panel tonight that this seemed like a ramp up to a forthcoming campaign.

Paul Seale said...


With all do respect, since when is it the governments job to provide a private service?

Hint: It aint.

While I can empathize with elements of your problems, the answer isnt government. There are market based solutions which can solve the situation without sacraficing our freedom and economic strength.

p.s. dave - your link is broke. I would really like to see the video of the panel discussion. sorta weird being on the other side of the camera.

Sandy said...

Since when is it not?
Compared to other developed countries with universal healthcare, I'd say the American healthcare system definitely needs a complete and drastic overhaul. If Blunt has problems resting because many in Missouri or even this country have no healthcare, then he needs to get up and do something about it, instead of just talking about it. Actually do something major about it and quit jacking around with all the program reforms and revisions.

No one realizes how important it is to have healthcare until they don't have it. So to all those out there that say, "Since when is it the governments responsibility to provide a private service?"….....when one child, because their parents can't afford, don't qualify for or lose their insurance unexpectedly, has to suffer because they can't take them to a doctor.
Like I said before, what one person considers affordable, isn't so affordable to another, for whatever reasons. There are too many gaps in the programs and too many kids falling down in them.

Sandy said...

Oh yeah.....
I forgot to mention that market based solutions do nothing more than line the pockets of the insurance companies and the drug companies.

Paul Seale said...

insurance companies and the drug companies.

I would hope so in that is why those businesses exsist - to make money through a service.

Now, keep that in mind when you nationalize a system and remove that core reason for exsisting.

If you want prices to go down, then I think we should look into why prices are going up and address those issues instead of just throwing it to the god of government and allow it to take over yet another part of our lives.

The dirty little secret is that part of the reason for our current health care situation is due to the portion which is government funded. So the solution is to make more of it funded by the government, right?