Tax Cuts & Medicaid Showdown May Steer Missouri Legislature for Session Starting Today

Missouri capitol building(AP) — Missouri’s enlarged Republican legislative majority will be looking to cut taxes during an annual session that convenes Wednesday, and the state’s recently re-elected Democratic governor wants lawmakers to expand Medicaid health care coverage for lower-income adults.
Neither side appears too fond of the other’s priority.
Missouri’s 2013 legislative session could prove to be a four-month test of wills – starting at noon Wednesday and ending at 6 p.m. May 17, the constitutional deadline by which all bills must either pass or fail.
Emboldened by their largest majorities since the Civil War era, Republicans hope to enact an agenda that will bring about lower taxes, ease regulatory and legal costs for businesses and, ultimately, lead employers to hire more workers.
House Speaker Tim Jones referred Tuesday to his proposed tax policy as “cut, cap and create.” He wants to cut taxes, cut or cap some of the state’s numerous existing tax credit programs, and create new business incentives that ultimately could result in more jobs.
Nixon shares the goal of creating more jobs – and of overhauling the state’s tax credit programs – but not necessarily by all of the same means.
Asked if he backs efforts to cut individual income taxes or eliminate corporate income taxes, Nixon indicated that such proposals aren’t likely to be part of his budget plan or State of the State address Jan. 28.
“It’s not an area where I am talking about a necessity to move forward an aggressive agenda,” Nixon told The Associated Press. He added: “We have to have the necessary resources to provide the basic services.”
Republicans already have floated a variety of ideas for cutting taxes, some of which would be offset with revenue increases elsewhere in an attempt to minimize the hit to the state budget.
While Nixon appears unenthusiastic about further tax cuts, Republicans seem disinterested in his proposed Medicaid expansion. The plan touted by Nixon would embrace a portion of President Barack Obama’s health care law, which entices states to expand eligibility for lower-income working adults by offering to pay the full tab for the first three years. After that, the federal share would gradually drop to 90 percent and the state would be responsible for the rest.

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