Jay Nixon's agenda
Sunday, September 28, 2008
During the course of his campaign for governor, Attorney General Jay Nixon, the Democratic nominee, has outlined plans for legislation he would champion. Major proposals include:
Tap the state's $833 million surplus to restore Medicaid cuts imposed in 2005 by Gov. Matt Blunt and the Republican-controlled legislature. The proposal would cost $265 million from state funds, spending that would attract $431 million in matching federal money. Nixon would work to expand coverage to more children by pushing a campaign for parents to enroll eligible children the Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP, and allow parents with incomes above current eligibility levels to buy coverage for their children through the program. Nixon proposes a commission to study the application of information technology to health care deliver and a state-sponsored website for Missourians to comparison shop for individual health plans. Nixon also promises to bring doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and policymakers together to craft proposals for extending health insurance coverage to more Missourians.
Extend state tax credits for property taxes paid by Missourians who are 65 and older. The proposal would expand the program, known as the circuit breaker credit, to an additional 65,000 Missourians. Nixon promises to "hold the line" on other taxes.
Creating a program the Nixon campaign calls "Missouri Promise" to help students in the A+ Schools Program pursue a four-year college degree. Students participating in the A+ program, which provides financial aid for students from high schools achieving the A+ designation, currently receive free tuition at community and technical colleges if they maintain a 2.5 grade point average. Nixon's program would offer free tuition at a four-year state college or university to A+ program students who maintain a 3.0 GPA in community college, perform 50 hours of community service and avoid disciplinary problems. The campaign estimates the cost of expanding the A+ program to all Missouri high schools and funding the tuition costs for A+ students at $61 million.
Aggressive industrial recruitment through the use of tax credits and economic incentives. Nixon would seek to add language to the laws governing economic development that would make recipients of state help fulfill promises about the number of jobs and ensure the state sees a return on taxpayer investments.
Establish a Performance Review Commission to conduct in-depth reviews of the management and effectiveness of state programs. Commission members will include business executives, elected officials and top managers in state agencies to examine programs and make recommendations for changes, consolidation or elimination of programs. Nixon specifically mentions in his proposal that 60 boards and commissions currently manage health-care delivery in the state. "We must consolidate and streamline these organizations to save money for Missouri taxpayers and make accessing these valuable services more consumer friendly," Nixon said in his news release announcing the review commission.