The Buzz

TheChat: Missouri GOP leaders blame Medicaid for Gov. Jay Nixon’s spending cuts


Good morning.

▪ “Missouri’s most overridden governor in history combined is using our veto session successes as a smokescreen to blur the real problem – the out-of-control growth in entitlement programs, especially Medicaid.” — Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard criticizing Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision Thursday to cut spending by $57.2 million.

Missouri’s GOP Senate leaders took turns Thursday bashing Nixon over Medicaid spending. But Missouri is no haven for generous Medicaid benefits. And Nixon said he was forced to cut the budget because of tax breaks that lawmakers enacted this week. (See next quote). Then there’s always federal Medicaid reform, which Republican lawmakers have steadfastly resisted.

▪ “Make no mistake – these cuts are solely the responsibility of legislators who voted to enact the special interest tax breaks. When they decide to spend money on tax breaks, that money has to come from other places.” — Nixon explaining his budget withholding.

Sounds like Nixon, a Democrat, is thinking like a Republican. The governor cut money from education, highways, a building at Missouri State University and school transportation.

▪ “I want you to know they tried to tell me they were going to charge me to quit charging me.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, talking about a maintenance fee her satellite TV provider was charging her that McCaskill questioned.

McCaskill is investigating the industry with an eye on new legislation that would allow Congress to make it more consumer friendly.

▪ “No one wants to be in court.” — Mark Tallman of the Kansas Association of School Boards on the need for a new school funding formula that reduces the risk of more lawsuits.

Lawmakers are working on a new formula. But the chances that any new spending plan can escape lawsuits are slim and none.