Missourians Urged to Keep Up Budget Battle In Summer
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State lawmakers have wrapped up their work at the Capitol for the year and, as they now head back to their home districts, analysts say this is the time for Missourians to make sure their voices are heard about the session.
Traci Gleason, communications director of the Missouri Budget Project, a public policy group, says the good news is that lawmakers passed a budget that begins to restore funding for critical services and infrastructure cut during the recession.
However, she cautions that could be undone after a flurry of tax cuts and exemptions on the session’s final day.
“That, combined with slowing general revenue in April, means we may have a hard time actually funding the fiscal year 2015 budget,” she explains.
The last minute tax cuts are expected to reduce the general fund revenue by $1 billion annually.
Gleason says now is the time for Missourians to speak directly to their lawmakers and let them know how they feel about the decisions being made with their tax dollars.
Gleason adds one of the biggest issues left on the table during this session was whether to expand Medicaid.
Despite broad bipartisan support and the backing of numerous business, health and consumer groups, it never came to a vote.
Gleason urges Missourians not to remain silent over the summer months when it comes to this and other important issues.
“Let them know that they understand where their taxpayer dollars are going, and that they expect the state will provide quality K-to-12 education, and infrastructure that will help our state compete, and that they and that they expect Missouri to do the right thing,” she says.
It’s estimated that expanding Medicaid would provide access to health care to nearly 300,000 Missourians, along with an infusion of federal funds and a reduction in general revenue expenses.