[Education and Welfare] Nixon asks for GOP help on blind benefit
dhuff at moblind.org
Fri Mar 23 19:34:56 CDT 2012
Nixon asks for GOP help on blind benefit
Friday, March 23, 2012
JEFFERSON CITY - In a rare move, Gov. Jay Nixon sought Republican support
to reverse a $28 million cut that ends a medical program for blind
bringing rank-and-file members to his office.
Since Nixon took office, Republican legislative leaders have often
for being unwilling to work directly with lawmakers. Democrats have
similar complaints that the governor does not assist them in forging a
against GOP initiatives.
Money from the cut to the medical program was shifted to state colleges and
as part of a plan to maintain level funding for the schools.
Nixon met Wednesday with Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee's Summit, and Rep.
R-Valley Park. In an interview, Grisamore said Nixon reiterated his
concern" about the cuts and talked with them about how to reverse the
"The governor made a passionate case for his concerns in this area,"
Scharnhorst could not be reached for comment.
Grisamore, a member of the House Budget Committee and chairman of the
Committee on Disability Services, said he opposed the cuts during committee
Once the committee had voted, Grisamore said he felt he had to stand with
Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, because he had been able to reverse other
would have cut services to the disabled.
"We had many more victories than defeats," he said.
The closest vote came on the bill that eliminates medical coverage for 2,858
Missourians. Seven Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the measure,
on a 90-61 vote. All four Democrats who represent Boone County - Reps. Mary
Chris Kelly, Stephen Webber and Paul Quinn - voted against the bill. Rep.
R-Mexico, voted in favor of the bill.
The bill contains $6 million for a "transitional benefit" to help some who
Spokesman Scott Holste said Nixon met with Grisamore and Scharnhorst, "among
"I can also tell you that he is greatly disappointed that these two longtime
of Missourians with disabilities then voted to eliminate, for all intents
this vital program that has been in place to help needy blind people for
40 years," Holste said.
Grisamore said he suggested Nixon ask college and university presidents to
the program. A letter to the Senate giving up some of the money might work,
he told the governor.
But yesterday, University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe told the MU
he is not planning to get into the politics of the budget. "We're not
in where the source of funding is," he said. "If anyone asks, that's for
to decide, not for us to decide."
Wolfe did warn, though, that Nixon's proposal to cut higher education by 7.8
is still a possibility. With tuition increases, that cut would amount to a
shortfall. In the worst-case scenario, Wolfe said, 245 jobs are on the
Holste said today Nixon would seek to restore the funding by promoting the
of the program.
"This issue is not about cutting a deal," Holste said. "It is about doing
Tribune reporter Janese Silvey contributed to this story.
Reach Rudi Keller at 573-815-1709 or e-mail
rkeller at columbiatribune.com
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