Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nixon Announces $200 M in Cuts

NIXON'S BUDGET PLAN reported Via Tweet
From Jefferson City Politicos
*Missourinet, St. Louis Post-Dispatch & Kinder COS*

Faced with lagging general revenue, Governor Jay Nixon announced $204 million dollars in spending cuts Wednesday (via @Missourinet).

The cuts will impact maintenance, the Arts Council, broadband services and total around 400 part-time and 200 full-time state jobs (@Missourinet). But Nixon said the cuts will not impact education or Medicaid eligibility (@VirginiaYoung).

"We don't print money. We must balance the budget," Nixon told reporters at the midday news conference (@Missourinet).

The Lieutenant Governor's office was immediately critical of Nixon's budget blueprint, and contested that the cuts would, in fact, hit education and healthcare.

"$204 million won't even pay back the debt he owes to budget reserve," said Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's chief of staff Rich AuBuchon (@RichAuBuchon). AuBuchon also took aim at Nixon's proposed cuts to healthcare providers. "Without good provider rates docs won't see Medicaid patients. He wanted to expand Medicaid. Provider rate cuts hurt Medicaid recipients just the same," AuBuchon said. (@RichAuBuchon).

"Nixon just cut Medicaid by $32.5 million. No wonder Nixon didn't sign onto the letter to Congress in support of Medicaid expansion," AuBuchon went on. (@RichAuBuchon).

Nixon did outline $32.5 million dollars in cuts to Medicaid spending, although they won't involve eligibility reductions (@Missourinet.) One of the largest cuts involves trimming maintenance and repair of state buildings by $20 million dollars (@VirginiaYoung). Life science research will be cut by $13 million, broadband will lose $8.8 million and the Arts Council budget will take a $4.4 million dollar hit (@VirginiaYoung.) The Department of Mental Health community program will lose $3 million (@Missourinet).

And while basic aid to schools remains intact, cuts will hit transportation, character education and virtual education (@VirginiaYoung).

Nixon predicted revenue would decline around five or six percent this fiscal year, not at the current 10% rate (@VirginiaYoung).

AuBuchon said that estimate seemed optimistic.

"Does Nixon really think income tax and sales tax will rebound by April? Big gamble especially with almost 10% unemployment," he said (@RichAuBuchon.)

No comments: