On Tuesday night, Gov. Nixon delivered his state of the state address before a packed House chamber of state senators and representatives. The governor called for more than $500 million in state budget cuts. Under the governor’s proposed 2013 budget, some 816 government jobs would be eliminated. Funding for public universities would be cut by 12.5 percent, while Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, would see a cut of $191.7 million.
The proposed Medicaid savings would come from requiring more use of generic drugs and maximizing federal matching funds for nursing home care. The proposed Medicaid cuts do not reduce eligibility for services. The Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) in recent years has sought to protect funding for Medicaid as many of the working poor find themselves employed by businesses that do not offer health insurance benefits.
The proposed job cuts bring to 4,181 the state jobs Gov. Nixon has ended during his term. The downsizing of state government has been driven by a deep recession that has reduced tax collections, making less state revenue available for state services.
For the last several years, emergency federal stimulus money that allowed officials to plug holes in the state budget gave state government some cushion from the effects of the recession. That federal money is no longer available, however, so all states, including Missouri, are having to either raise more revenue or cut funding for programs.
The governor’s proposal is for the state budget year that begins July 1, 2012. His budget recommendations will now be considered by the general assembly, which has until early May to submit a budget to the governor for his approval. Click here for a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on the proposed budget cuts.