JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is delivering his sixth State of the State address Tuesday and presenting his recommended budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. The speech and spending recommendations are a starting point for the Republican-led Legislature, but it is uncertain how successful the Democratic governor will be at winning approval for his proposals.
Here are five things to know about the Missouri State of the State speech:
1. DOLLARS AND CENTS
Lawmakers and the governor disagree about how much Missouri will have in the treasury to spend for the 2015 fiscal year. Legislative budget leaders agreed to a state revenue estimate used as a foundation for developing the budget, but the governor did not sign off. Lawmakers said their estimate is $8.59 billion and that Nixon’s office wanted an estimate of $8.73 billion. The split means the Legislature is likely to look for places to cut from Nixon’s budget proposals.
Nixon wants to fully fund Missouri’s school formula before his term ends in 2017 and has said he plans a “significant down payment” this year toward hitting that target. Missouri currently provides about $3 billion annually in basic aid for school districts, which is about $600 million short of what currently is called for by the formula. The governor also wants additional funding for higher education. He has suggested more than $80 million, which includes boosting state aid for operating budgets of public universities, funding for colleges and universities to train more mental health professionals and an expansion of a merit-based scholarship.
3. TOUGH SELLS
Nixon is renewing his push to expand Missouri’s Medicaid health care program to more lower-income adults and to restore caps on campaign donations. Both were featured in the governor’s State of the State speech last year and neither received a warm reception from the Legislature.
4. POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
The State of the State address is delivered before a joint legislative session in the House chamber. Governors enter the chamber through a set of double-doors in the rear, walk down the center aisle shaking hands and speak from the House dais. Previously, the speech was given during the day. The State of the State has been held in the evening since 2005. Among those attending the speech are members of the Missouri Supreme Court, agency directors and guests specifically mentioned and introduced by the governor during his address.
5. THE REBUTTAL
House Speaker Tim Jones is giving the Republican response to Nixon’s speech. Jones also gave the GOP’s speech last year and is considering a campaign for statewide office in 2016.