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Fri April 1, 2005
By Steve Bell
Kansas City, MO – Hundreds of demonstrators protested planned Medicaid cuts in Jefferson City. The plan would drop one in ten recipients from the rolls, and increase premiums and co-pays for others. Republicans called the cuts "compassionate," saying those being taken off the rolls don't need the help and the state needs to cut spending to be able to afford needed welfare programs.
The House Budget Committee is favoring a bill that would eliminate future increases in Missouri spending unless tied to inflation or population growth. Democrats say the bill would prevent reestablishing programs eliminated in current cutbacks. Republicans say that's why they want the law. Enacting it would require a public vote.
The Missouri Senate remodeled distribution of the $24 million a year from the tax on non-resident pro-athletes and entertainers. The tax was sold to the public with the idea that 60% of its proceeds were for the arts. Today's revision sends 60% to pay off sports stadium and arenas and 24% for the arts. But the Council for the Arts says it has received no funding from the tax as originally promised.
The Kansas legislature has sent a copy of its school funding plan to the state supreme court. A hearing on whether it meets court requirements is scheduled for Tuesday.