It is hard to believe that 2012 is gone and now in our history. It was my privilege to be elected a fourth term to the House of Representatives, making me the only Democrat elected in Northeast Missouri to either the House or the Senate.
My family and I are still celebrating, and still counting our blessings. My knee surgery appears to be successful and now as I go through therapy to achieve a complete healing, I welcome your prayers and appreciate all those who helped me in anyway.
Expanding Medicaid eligibility in Missouri to 138 percent of the federal poverty level would save the state $250 million over the next three years, according to new figures released by Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration on Dec. 19. Most of the savings would come from the federal government covering more existing expenses currently paid by the state.
The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act encourages states to expand Medicaid eligibility by 2014. In Missouri, Republican opposition to expansion has centered on the claim that doing so would prove too costly to the state treasury even though the federal government would pick up the full tab for the first three years, with the state contributing only a small percentage thereafter. Missouri’s share would top out at 10 percent in 2020.
According to a recent University of Missouri study commissioned by the Missouri Hospital Association, approximately 220,000 more Missourians would be eligible for Medicaid under the proposed expansion. The study also says expansion would create about 24,000 new jobs in Missouri in the first year.
Gov. Jay Nixon and the House and Senate budget chairmen on Dec. 18 agreed to a consensus general revenue estimate of $7.929 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The FY 2014 estimate anticipates revenue growth of $237 million over the FY 2013 estimate.
The FY 2014 estimate assumes economic growth of 4.8 percent. However, the loss of one-time revenue sources, the continued phase-out of corporate franchise taxes and other factors result in net estimated growth of 3.1 percent. The state budget process will begin in January when Nixon presents his FY 2014 budget proposal to the General Assembly during the annual State of the State address.
Gov. Jay Nixon on Dec. 13 appointed former state budget director Brian Long as the next director of the Missouri Department of Revenue. Long replaces Alana Barragan-Scott, whom Nixon appointed to the Administrative Hearing Commission, an independent administrative tribunal that decides disputes involving state agencies. Barragan-Scott had served as director of revenue since 2009.
Since 2005, Long had been director of the Council on Public Higher Education, an association of the state’s public universities. Long was state budget director under Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat, from 2001 to 2002. He holds a doctorate in geography from Syracuse University. Long’s nomination as revenue director is subject to Senate confirmation.
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