Nixon: State of the State "Strong"

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JEFFERSON CITY - In the annual State of the State address, Gov. Jay Nixon laid out to taxpayers and lawmakers what he thought were the most important issues facing the state.

He began by saying the state of Missouri is "strong" and cited many achievements of programs like "Show-Me-Heroes", which takes care of Missouri veterans. He also said that in the past year, the state has added nearly 44,000 jobs, and went on to praise the state's auto industry.

Nixon focused a large portion of the beginning of his speech on expanding education funding in next year's budget. He said that in order to have more jobs, Missourians needed to devote more resources to education.

"More technology. Smaller class sizes. Well-prepared teachers," Nixon said. "The tools our kids need to succeed. Accomplishing that goal is going to take an unwavering commitment by all of us, and it's going to take money. That's why my [2015] budget increases funding for K-12 this year by $278 million, and will put us on a path to fully funding the foundation formula next year."

But House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) did not agree.

"We have increased spending to education over the last two-to-three decades in this state and in this nation," Jones said. "Billions of dollars have been poured into our education and to our government schools, and that has not resulted in improvements of test scores. It has not helped the St. Louis Public Schools become accredited. School districts have actually fallen into unaccredidation. As the money has poured in, the results have either flatlined or gone down."

Nixon also said he will push for Medicaid expansion this year, and said that he will try to reform Medicaid in the "Missouri way".

"Each day we don't act, Missouri's Medicaid system continues as it has for years, without additional protections for taxpayers, or new measures to promote personal responsibility," Nixon said.

Nixon also said he wants to put an end to workplace discrimination against the LGBTQ community, and to limit campaign contributions.

President Pro Tempore Tom Dempsey told reporters after the speech that he thought there was a bit of rhetoric in the speech, and said Governor Nixon delivered the speech with a condescedning tone.