The single largest funding item in the annual Missouri budget is public education. Currently the State of Missouri is estimated to be over $1.4 BILLION behind in funding public education. We must fully fund the educational foundation formula.
The underfunding of the educational Foundation Formula was started by the current majority party in our General Assembly several years ago and has continued to worsen. Now it is time to fix this situation especially in light of the recent passage of SB 509. This ill conceived and potentially devastating tax break for big business and the ultra-wealthy could cost the school districts in the 44th Legislative District over $5 million in lost funding. We must move quickly to prevent the demise of public education in our state. It will not be easy or simple but we must start working to solve this ever increasing debt the State of Missouri owes our children.
I propose a complete and comprehensive overhaul of the Foundation Formula. As well, I propose we take every step financially available while maintaining fiscal responsibility to fully fund the revised formula. If we truly want to end poverty and unemployment we must fully fund public education.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in the US Senate on December 24, 2009, and passed in the US House of Representatives on March 21, 2010. It was signed into law by President Obama on March 23rd, 2010 and upheld in the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012. Since that time the Republican led House has tried over 50 times to repeal this legislation and has failed every time.
During the same period of time the Missouri State Legislature has repeatedly tried to expand the federally funded Medicaid program and the Republican led state legislature has also failed to do so. Citing the illogical claims that to do so would burden future legislators with unpredictable financial situations. The true basis for the Republican Party’s refusal to take this compassionate action is simply the fact that they do not want to see a federal program, one initiated by a Democratic administration, succeed. Simply put, they would rather punish the poorest Missourians than allow the Affordable Care Act to be seen as a success. A responsible legislative body would not play partisan politics with people’s lives.
The reality is that the Republican controlled Legislature’s refusal to pass this critical legislation the state of Missouri has lost over $1.3 billion* in estimated Gross State Production for the year 2014 alone. This number translates to more than just returned federal tax dollars, (tax dollars that are currently helping poor people in neighboring states like Illinois, Iowa, and Arkansas), but also increased jobs and state tax revenue. This amount doesn’t reflect the dollar value of the number of lost lives, increased medical expenses and suffering sustained by the poorest members of our society.
I see the expansion of the Medicaid program as an imperative issue in Missouri and I will make it one of my highest priorities when elected.
*University of Missouri School of Medicine, Department of Health Management and Informatics and Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, LLC, Vienna VA