JEFFERSON CITY - State legislators told KOMU 8 News Monday they hope Gov. Jay Nixon addresses education and transportation in his State of the State address Monday night.
House Minority Leader Rep. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, said he wants Nixon to fully fund the state education funding foundation formula, which he said is underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars. He said increasing funding for education would help address the problems faced by school districts in the state's two largest cities. Kansas City Public Schools lost accreditation at the start of the year, and St. Louis Public Schools is provisionally accredited. Hummel said he also hopes Nixon will discuss ways to fix the state's transportation infrastructure. Hummel said he supported measure such as an increased gas tax to fund roads, but he doesn't think toll roads are a good idea.
Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, echoed Hummel's concerns about transportation. He said he is very concerned about Missouri's highways and wants to hear the governor's opinions on what should be done. Kehoe was ambivalent on the governor's proposal of a longer school year. He said Missouri has to become competitive with the rest of the country, but he was concerned a longer school year might hurt the tourism industry as well as employers who hire students as part-time employees during the summer.
Kehoe and Hummel disagreed on whether Medicaid expansion should be a priority. Hummel said expanding Medicaid makes economic and political sense, while Kehoe repeated earlier Republican concerns about the federal government's ability to meet its obligations.