Gov. Jay Nixon has promised to hold the line on taxes and give veterans priority in jobs placement.The Democratic governor's tone was positive and his approach to Republican's conciliatory.Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was not, criticizing Nixon's use of federal stimulus dollars to balance the budget and calling him out on health care.The governor opened with a blueprint and a promise.
"We must keep the jobs we have and create thousands more, said Nixon. We must build a granite foundation for Missouri's future growth. And we must balance the budget without raising taxes.Toward the latter, he must minimize new spending. Public schools will still get more money but only about a fifth of what they need to fully fund the state's funding formula.Until the revenue picture changes," said Nixon, "most folks in government understand that getting the job done with fewer resources is a given."
Even so, Nixon wants to provide state money to pay the property tax of first-time home buyers. And his plan to put people back to work includes an initiative to give preference in hiring to veterans."When a job comes open," said Nixon. "I want a veteran's resume on the top of the stack, so they get first crack at an interview."
Kinder blasted Nixon for proposing anything new with a price tag."Each of these new programs will cost money, money that we do not have," said Nixon.Kinder criticized Nixon for what he called a lack of transparency in the budget process. He blasted the administration for using tax refunds to cover budget shortfalls last summer.
He suggested Nixon's personal staff is overpaid and warned of a heavy burden on the budget if federal health care reforms are passed."I sent a letter to Governor Nixon a few weeks ago and have yet to hear back," said Kinder. "So tonight, on live TV, I'll pose my questions once again: Gov. Nixon, Missourians deserve to know, will you join us in opposition to this federal health care disaster for our state?Nixon will travel around the state to explain details of his job creation program.