First year Gov. Jay Nixon (D) offered a plan Jan. 27 to balance the state's budget through a combination of spending reductions, job cuts and using anticipated money from the federal economic stimulus plan.
But Nixon also managed to find the money to freeze college tuition, increase job development and training programs, spend more on early childhood education and expand health coverage to 62,000 Missourians. "Students in other states will see their tuition continue to skyrocket this year," Nixon said. "But not here."
He asked the GOP-controlled Legislature to eliminate or cut 50 programs and slash 1,300 positions, which Nixon said would save $200 million. He said the reduction would be the largest downsizing of the state's bureaucracy in modern history.
Nixon repeated an earlier request that lawmakers send him an emergency job-creating plan before the General Assembly breaks in March. "Protecting and creating jobs must be our top priority. We must take quick action," the governor said. He also said he would create a task force to study the future of the state's automobile industry.
As a Democrat in a GOP dominated state, Nixon appealed to the Senate and House to work together. "These are historically difficult times, and they will require historic levels of cooperation," he said.
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