Let the Budget Battle Begin

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri legislators expect Tuesday's State of the State message to be full of bad news. Meanwhile, Governor Nixon is probably going to talk more about creating jobs than cutting state services.

Republican House Speaker Steven Tilley hopes to hear of a new jobs plan at the state address, but says the priority is to balance the state budget.

"I think first and foremost, we have a constitutional duty to balance the budget. Also, we have to enable the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive with job creation," said Tilley.

The budget for fiscal year 2013 has a huge hole in it -- less income and less federal subsidy. The hole is projected to range between $500 million and $800 million. Public education and social services are expected to suffer the highest cuts in fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1.

Talks of education cuts have also led democrats and republicans to speak out, including Republican Representative Mike Thomson. Thomson serves on the Elementary, Secondary, and Higher Education committees. He says his priority is to watch out for education.

"Education has seen a 12% cut in the last two years," Thomson noted. "We've heard very little of what the Governor will speak about tonight, and it puts us at a disadvantage. But by tomorrow, I'm sure we will be ready to discuss what the Governor plans to do."

Democrat Mary Still of Columbia also serves on the higher education committee. She says she is looking forward to hear what Governor Nixon has to say.

"I am just anxious to see what the Governor and respondents have to move our state forward," Still said. "The best way to do that is to invest in education, and to look at MU and provide the proper resources for our state's premiere research university," Still added.

You can watch the Governor's address live at komu.com at 7pm. The Republican response is scheduled to immediately follow Nixon's address.