Newspaper Tax Could Restore Money For Blind

4 years 11 months 7 hours ago March 21, 2012 Mar 21, 2012 Wednesday, March 21 2012 Wednesday, March 21, 2012 2:27:00 PM CDT in News
By: Veronica Polivanaya
Embed Code Copied

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House voted a bill out of committee Wednesday that would use the tax from the sales of newspaper supplies and equipment toward a newly created Blind Medical Subsidy Fund. Supporters said that money would be used solely to assist blind individuals not eligible for Missouri HealthNet benefits with their health care payments. Currently, Missouri is exempted from taxing the equipment and supplies newspapers buy. 

This bill comes after the House Budget Committee slashed a $28 million program two weeks ago that covers medical care for blind people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. The Blind Medical Subsidy Fund would bring back $6 million into the program, $4 million of which would come from the newspaper tax. Governor Jay Nixon strongly opposed the cut and called on the house to restore the program. Approximately 2800 blind Missourians depend on this program and need access to vital health care services.

"There's a gentleman that will probably lose his house," Eugene Coulter, president of the Columbia chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, said. "He lost his wife a year and a half ago, and probably will lose his house if he has to pay for medical coverage out of pocket."

"I think it's ridiculous to do away with the program and then see who falls by the wayside," Gary Wunder, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri said. 

The house slashed the program in hopes of reversing a cut in funding for public colleges and universities. Nixon cut more than $100 million from the institutions in his state budget. The governor then said he would support the restoration of $40 million of that money. State Rep. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, proposed the bill to restore all higher education funding.

"We believe that higher education is very important, that we're not going to be able to have an educated workforce here in the state if we continue to make those cuts, " Silvey said. "Ultimately, having an educated workforce is what's going to bring us out of the economy."

"I'm a graduate of Mizzou, I fully believe in the funding of higher education," Coulter said. "But to take away the funding of the blind to support higher education, I think that was the wrong place to take it."

Silvey said the old bill gave an unfair advantage to blind individuals. 

"If you're paraplegic or quadriplegic or autistic, and you make too much money for Medicaid, you receive no additional assistance," Silvey said. "If you're blind and you make too much money for Medicaid, the way it's been done in the past, is we would just go ahead and pay all of their bills. When the community was looking at it, we found that we don't do this for any other disability, that there's no federal match, that it costs the state $28 million dollars a year for these 2800 people. The amount that it was costing for the relatively few number of people...it stuck out."

"But what is a disability?" Wunder asked. "A disability can be a person who is bedfast, severely, profoundly retarded, who needs total care, or a person with a disability can mean somebody who walks with a lamp, uses crutches, but can still get to the store just fine, drive his own car, and has virtually no difficulty in terms of employment. So, disability as a generic term is a very difficult one when you're fashioning social programs."

Coulter said he thinks Silvey only proposed the bill after a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article shed light on the slashed program.

"I don't know if it's genuine or not, but it was kind of coincidental that it was just a day or two after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch broke the story that they were trying to limit medical care for blind persons that the bill was introduced," Coulter said. 

But Silvey said he doesn't propose legislation simply based on newspaper articles.

"Those that know me and those that have followed my tentative legislature should know pretty well that I really don't care what the papers write about me," Silvey said. "To say it's in retaliation, I think is probably a bit much. To say it's in response to, I think is probably fair."

Silvey said that by proposing the bill, he gave the St. Louis Post-Dispatch what it asked for. 

"That newspaper, in particular, is constantly advocating for raising taxes, constantly advocating for ending corporate welfare," Silvey said. "I think even in that very same article, they said that it's time to stop the corporate give-aways. And I figured that if that's the position that they wanted to take and advocate, then they should be the first in line, since they're receiving a corporate give-away."

If passed, this bill would go into effect on January 1, 2013.

More News

Grid
List
OVERLAND - The Overland Police Department issued an Amber Alert for a 9-month-old boy Sunday. According to police, the... More >>
58 minutes ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 2:10:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has started complaining about the coverage his administration receives, but the Republican... More >>
1 hour ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 1:21:21 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia saw one of its warmest weekends of the year so far with temperatures in the high 60s... More >>
2 hours ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:53:00 PM CST in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY- One man died and another was seriously injured in an overnight crash in Callaway County Sunday. According... More >>
2 hours ago February 19, 2017 Feb 19, 2017 Sunday, February 19 2017 Sunday, February 19, 2017 12:20:00 PM CST in News
BOONE COUNTY — The Boone County Fire Protection District responded to 12 natural cover fires on Saturday. The Columbia... More >>
18 hours ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 8:28:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia (UUCC) and Missouri Faith Voices hosted a resistance training Saturday to educate... More >>
20 hours ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 6:35:00 PM CST in News
BOONE COUNTY — Two people were taken into custody after leading police on a car chase through multiple counties Saturday... More >>
21 hours ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 5:16:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — An online tool has disappeared for people to find out whether they are buying puppies from... More >>
22 hours ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 4:46:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A government report shows the number of farms in Missouri fell last year while the remaining... More >>
22 hours ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 4:41:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — The Acting Company based out of New York has crossed the country and is now in Columbia to... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 3:03:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The Special Olympics Missouri Regional Basketball Tournament returned to Jefferson City for the third year Saturday. ... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 2:48:00 PM CST in News
JOPLIN (AP) — Supporters of Route 66 are pushing to have the roadway added to a national list of historic... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 1:14:00 PM CST in News
CAMDEN COUNTY — A male suspect attempted to gain entrance to a residence on Hackberry Trace in Montreal Saturday, the... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 1:05:00 PM CST in News
PINEVILLE (AP) — The Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission will be meeting to... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 12:38:29 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — The Homes for Computers Program distributed 40 computers to eligible low-income Columbia families on Saturday. One mother... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 12:33:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Applications for concealed carry permits in Missouri have been dropping after passage last year of a... More >>
1 day ago February 18, 2017 Feb 18, 2017 Saturday, February 18 2017 Saturday, February 18, 2017 11:21:00 AM CST in News
MOBERLY — Three law enforcement agencies partnered to serve a narcotics search warrant on Friday, resulting in the arrest of... More >>
1 day ago February 17, 2017 Feb 17, 2017 Friday, February 17 2017 Friday, February 17, 2017 10:32:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — In the 2017 State of Entrepreneurship Address , the Kauffman Foundation announced a national increase in minority small... More >>
1 day ago February 17, 2017 Feb 17, 2017 Friday, February 17 2017 Friday, February 17, 2017 7:12:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 75°
4pm 73°
5pm 71°
6pm 67°
7pm 65°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:30p
NHL Hockey
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
2:00p
It Could Happen to You
4:00p
Among Ravens
6:00p
Killing Emmett Young

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Paley Center Salutes NBC's 90th Anniversary
6:00p
Killing Emmett Young
8:00p
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld