In his first State of the State address of his second term as governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon proposed additional funding for K-12 schools, colleges, universities and early childhood programs, pay raises and job cuts for state employees and vowed to back a ballot initiative to restore limits on campaign contribution.
The governor's budget released Monday for the fiscal year that starts July 1 would add $66 million into Missouri's roughly $3 billion school funding formula. But state government would need to add a total of $686 million next academic year to meet the full amount called for by the formula.
Nixon proposes to increase funding for public colleges and universities by an average of 4 percent, with each institution's raise based upon performance.
The proposed budget also calls for doubling state funding for preschool and early childhood programs.
Nixon alsowants to raise the pay of state employees, but also cut 190 positions in state government. He has proposed a 2 percent raise for state workers effective Jan. 1, 2014 -- halfway through the state's next budget year.
The governor's plan calls for a targeted salary increase for nurses in state government that would take effect this July.
The 190 jobs that Nixon wants to eliminate include some in the Department of Social Services because of plans for a new computer system for the Medicaid program.
Nixon's administration estimates that Missouri has cut more than 4,000 state jobs since 2009.
Nixon is also vowing to back a ballot initiative to restore limits on campaign contribution if lawmakers refuse to approve them. Nixon said in his address Monday that Missouri must reinstate strict limits on how much money candidates can receive from individual donors.
If lawmakers don't approve contribution limits, the Democratic governor said he will do everything within his power to ensure that a citizens' initiative makes the ballot and is approved by a statewide vote.
Missouri's Republican-led Legislature repealed the state's campaign contribution limits in 2008. They argued that the limits led big donors to funnel money to politicians through a variety of obscure committees. Republicans said unlimited donations made it easier for people to track the money.
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