Tax Cuts, Education and Medicaid will undoubtedly be right there like low-hanging fruit that’s easy to reach but stuck to the branch and difficult to remove without damaging its goodness.
I believe tax cuts for businesses will be front and center. I say businesses because I don’t believe there will be cuts for individuals. HB 253 (the infamous bill that the Governor vetoed and we sustained the veto) was touted to be a sizeable tax cut for individuals, but wasn’t that at all. Frankly, it costs the state too much money to give a meaningful tax cut across the board to individuals. That’s it in a nutshell. On the other hand, Missouri shouldn’t be in the business of making huge profits. I’m in favor of tax cuts when surplus revenues reach reasonable numbers; we all would enjoy some individual tax relief. We need to remember though; when the pot of gold is divided into millions of pieces there isn’t much gold left for anyone.
Education will also be a hot topic of discussion as it has been in my previous three years at the capitol. Common Corewill be much discussed because it’s viewed by many citizens as a conspiracy. It was developed by state education leaders from the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governor’s Association. Missouri legislators have been hearing frequently from constituents with concerns about Common Core.
There are 45 states, including Missouri that have adopted the Common Core state standards. Most of the educators I’ve spoken with don’t see the Common Core as anything except a focus on learning the things we all agree are important; Math, English and Language Arts.
The skeptics believe the Common Core is a move toward a National School Curriculum, something that’s been tried, and failed, in the past. The skeptics also believe that the minds of our children will systematically be changed to steer our country away from free enterprise and into a managed economy. There’s also a concern that the federal statutes were ignored because the U.S. legislature was bypassed when Common Core was implemented.
The information I’ve shared and further info on Common Core can be found at the following websites:www.missouricoalitionagainstcommoncore.com and www.stltoday.com/news/columns/common-core-is-a-win-for-missouri/article. And, of course a Google search of “Common Core” will get results as well.
While you’re at it, do a Google search for the “Convention of States”, another sizzling topic of discussion. I’ll review it more in a future report. It’s a very interesting movement.
Medicaid continues to be a heated topic. Now the Missouri Chamber of Commerce is onboard as a supporter of expanding Medicaid! That’s surprising considering they have always claimed to be conservative on fiscal issues. (The Vice-Chair of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Tom Flannigan, reports that the annual average growth of the cost of Medicaid in its current state, without expansion, is projected to be 71 million a year. (That’s growth!) In the 2014 budget, Medicaid will make up 21.5% of the General Revenue! “Expecting the federal government to keep its promise of a 90/10 cost sharing past 2020 is something that we as a body and taxpayers should be cautious about,” said Flannigan). The General Assembly might expand Medicaid IF there are reforms that makes it more cost effective, otherwise it’s doubtful.