Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Issues Summary

@ Mo. Press Association Forum
(Summaries of the answers provided)

Opening Statement
Hulshof says Attorney General Nixon wants to "take our state into the past," with "old policies and old politics," adds that Missourians are tired of blind partisanship. Cites "Lewis & Clark" initiative as an example. Charges that Nixon opposed it for pure political reasons. Says he doesn't have an ax to grind, scores to settle.

Steelman began talking about the need to strengthen the Sunshine Law, and noted that she opened up meetings as State Treasurer. Promised to think "long-term" as Governor, by establishing a 10-year plan.

The Medicaid Cuts
Referring to the 2005 cuts, Steelman says she believes "some of them should be reversed," to make sure "we have a safety net." She said she believed that "those cuts had to be made," but said she would have done it a bit differently than Gov. Blunt.

Hulshof called the old program unsustainable. He questioned why the chronically ill program was cut, said he would have looked at that "a little differently." He said he was "very open" to tweaking the eligibility, but still defended the health and wellness portions of Blunt's reforms. He said his reforms would be private-sector and patient based. Said he wouldn't put people back on the Medicaid rolls just for the purpose of government health care.

The 2nd Injury Fund
Hulshof said it's an issue that needs to get more attention, called the current trajectory of the fund "unsustainable." Said he has not taken money from attorneys involved in these cases. Noted that "it would be interesting" to hear from the Attorney General and Sarah Steelman on that point. On reforms, said he was not sure "partial disabilities" should be included. Said we needed to hold accountable those who allowed the fund to get to this point.

Steelman talked in vague terms about solutions, but said she was open to a whole range of them. Said abolishing the fund would be a bad idea and a big problem for business. Said "she had no idea" if she received campaign contributions from attorneys involved in these cases. "Can't tell you if I had or not," she replied.

The Media
Steelman said she did not agree with the statement sent out by her party chair which criticized some of the media as "adjuncts of the Democratic party." Said the media has every right to seek Blunt administration documents.

Hulshof also said he didn't agree with the statement either. Said if people lose faith in the confidence in our government, these other things "pale in comparison." Also noted how he stood up to power in Congress to Tom Delay. Acknowledged, "it wasn't a pleasant experience."

Transportation Funding
Hulshof said "this may be the issue that causes me to be a 1-term Governor." Took raising the gas tax to pay for roads off the table. Said he would look a public-private partnerships, including those that would construct separate truck lanes.

Steelman also took the gas tax "completely" off the table. Said it would be "the worst thing we could do at this time." Also signaled interest in public-private partnerships.

Hulshof asked for a minute to respond. Noted that he was being criticized for voting for the last Transportation bill, which included the Bridge to Nowhere. Noted it brought back $1.3B for Missouri roads. Steelman said her ad in question targeted the 11,000 earmarks in the bill. Said if she was in Congress, she would have worked to take them out of the bill. Noted her staunch opposition to earmarks repeatedly. "A Governor has to say no to a lot of things," Steelman said. Said this kind of behavior "inflates the budget deficit," said "no one has the guts to say no." Hulshof defended his fiscal conservative credentials. "Ask Jay Nixon on Aug. 6th if I'm a fiscal conservative," Hulshof quips. Noted the vote on the Bridge to Nowhere was up or down. Would not justify earmarks in other districts but said he had a "very aggressive scrubbing process" for earmarks he got behind. Called for a moratorium on earmarks. Steelman came back and noted the Club for Growth gave him a ranking of just 22%. Said he approved Medicaid/Medicare coverage of Viagra. Hulshof said it was easy to pick votes and take them out of context.

State Tax Credits & Missouri Housing
Steelman said she would like to change the length on Missouri Housing Development Commission tax credits from 15 years to 5 years. Said she was not sure she agreed with everything in the recent tax credit housing audit by Susan Montee. Noted it was different to get everyone on the Commission to agree.

Hulshof said he was fairly troubled with the audit's findings. Pledged to not allow any elected officials to serve on the MHDC. Said that their presence fueled the deep belief that the credits were awarded to the politically-connected developers.

Steelman responded that we need elected officials on the board -- because without all of them, the Governor would be able to appoint all the members, and therefor would have all the power. Said Hulshof's idea "makes no sense."

License Fee Offices
Hulshof pledged to end the cronyism by putting all statewide fee offices out for competitive bid.

Steelman said that not all the offices involved "cronyism," said a lot were run efficiently. Turned the "cronyism" issue towards elected officials. Said she did not want elected officials to be allowed to be paid political consultants at the same time. Specifically named Speaker of the House Rod Jetton, as an example. Also reiterated her opposition to allowing elected officials to benefit from state tax credits that they vote into law.

College Scholarships for Family Making More Than $200,000
Steelman supports the continuation of them.
Hulshof also supports continuation.

Shield Law To Protect Journalists
Steelman & Hulshof both pledge support

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