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Key issues from Nixon's response to the state address

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | 10:01 p.m. CST; updated 9:35 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Quote: “Are we going to keep pursuing the same old policies that have held our state back? Or are we going to change direction and get the state moving forward?”

Health care:

“You will hear a lot of talk from the governor about his health care scheme, but make no mistake: It does nothing to help the elderly or Missourians with disabilities.”

Nixon said cuts to state health care in 2005 have resulted in more than 750,000 people without insurance. He called the numbers inexcusable and said the state has turned down $1 billion in federal dollars for health care.

Proposal:

Restore cuts made to health care by spending $255 million in extra money in the budget.

Education:

“We believe that the quality of education a child receives shouldn’t depend on where they live or what their parents do for a living. In order for Missouri to move forward, we must once again make it a priority to invest in public schools.”

Nixon said the Blunt administration has invested a smaller percentage of the state budget in public schools and trimmed funding for higher education, which has lead to increases in tuition.

Proposal:

Allow community college graduates who earn a B average to attend a four-year college tuition free.

Economy:

“Democrats want to create new opportunities so that our children can stay here and aren’t forced to move away to find a good job.”

Unemployment is too high, job creation is too slow, and taxes are too high, Nixon said. Property taxes are soaring and a plan needs to be devised, he said.

Proposal:

Introduce a specific plan for property tax relief.


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Comments

Mike Sykuta January 16, 2008 | 9:53 a.m.

If Mr. Nixon and company want to extend the A-plus program to allow students to receive a 4-year degree, why limit the subsidy to community colleges for the first two years? Why not just allow these students to enroll in the 4-year college of their choice to begin with?

Even with matriculation agreements, transfer students often face challenges in completing their bachelors degree in four semesters, whether due to sequencing of courses or preparedness for upper-level courses. In addition, transfer students have less opportunity to participate in internships and other critical learning experiences that employers look for and to assimilate and network with peers.

Not all, but certainly many students would be much better served by enrolling in the 4-year program from the beginning. Mr. Nixon's proposal would seem to be a boon for community colleges at the expense not only of 4-year colleges, but of the students the program is intended to help.

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