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State Of The State--Live Blogging

Dad must have been too busy to make it, but Matt's mother, Roseann attended.

"Thank you guys?" was his response to the applause. What's that about Gov?

2006 State of the State Address
January 11, 2006

Lt. Governor Kinder, Mr. President Pro Tem, Mr. Speaker,
distinguished state officials, judges of the Supreme Court, members of
the General Assembly, reverend clergy, fellow Missourians:

Tonight, I have the privilege of delivering my second state of the
state address. Last year’s report was difficult news for me to deliver
and for Missourians to hear. Missouri’s economy was on life support.
The budget was more than a billion dollars in the red, a series of
government programs were bankrupting the state and tens of millions of
dollars in waste were scattered throughout state government.

 Whew, only two to go.

Tonight I am able to deliver a very different message. Our economy
is now creating jobs for Missouri’s families. We have moved from a
massive budget shortfall to the first surplus in five years. Let me
repeat that good news: because of the prudent decisions we made last
year, we have balanced the books. We have taken an inherited deficit
that exceeded five percent of total state spending and created a small
but real surplus. We are sustaining government and investing in
priorities without the higher job-killing taxes that the people have
rejected time after time.

Job killing taxes? Like the ones all your advisors are working to pass?

We are saving millions of dollars within
state government that can be sent to schools, used to provide
healthcare or to improve Missouri’s roads, highways and bridges. We
have demonstrated that real, positive change can be realized without
increased taxes. Tonight, Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, and fellow
Missourians, just one year after we began to work together, the state
of the state is strong.

The State of the State is strong? "What I meant to say, is that the
state of my brother's clients is good."

The reality: Fewer Missourians have health
care today--including 20,000 Missouri children, the school funding
system is less stable and is subject to court challenge, utility rates are out of control, and integrity
in state government is at an all-time low.

Last session we enacted pro jobs, pro growth policies that have
made state government a facilitator of job creation, not a
free-spending, tax-increasing burden to economic growth. Today, the sun
has risen and Missouri’s economy is on the move. Jobs are coming back
and staying in Missouri. Lawsuit reform and regulatory relief are
having their desired effect. Twenty-eight thousand jobs have been
created since January. Our small business men and women are hiring more
of their neighbors. The entrepreneurial spirit has been rekindled, and
the results are dramatic. On average, we have seen the creation of more
than 500 new jobs per week since my address last year.


We made great strides last year to keep doctors in Missouri by
passing medical liability reform. Hospitals and doctors’ groups report
that they now can recruit and retain quality doctors, especially in
crucial specialties such as obstetrics and neurosurgery. Lawsuit reform
is making a tremendous positive difference for people and communities
across Missouri and is improving access to high-quality healthcare.

I repeat 20,000 children who had health care last year when the
Governor gave his speech, don't have it today, thanks to the Governor's

Thank you for passing a tough new anti-meth law to control the sale
of key ingredients of methamphetamine. This new law is showing strong
results, with a decline of 44 percent in meth incidents in Missouri.

Hey Governor, that's a microphone in front of you. It amplifies your voice.

I encourage the Congress to pass Senator Jim Talent’s similar
legislation at the federal level to better protect Missourians and to
help stop the scourge of meth across the country.

Way to work in a little election year politics and try to plug Jim Talent.

As you drive across Missouri you are seeing new construction on
virtually all our major highways. When complete, Missouri's Smooth
Roads Initiative will deliver a total of 2,200 miles of safer, smoother
and improved roads. MoDOT has turned the corner and is earning the
trust of Missouri taxpayers because they are eliminating the problems
that confronted them in the past and they are now focused on one
central mission, "building and maintaining roads." I know they are up
to the challenge, and tonight, I call upon the State Highways and
Transportation Commission and their Director, Pete Rahn, to complete
the Smooth Roads Initiative by December 31, 2006 - one year ahead of

The Governor loves MoDOT. They are now perfect apparently. "I am
going to encourage MoDOT to rehire my dad's cronies at Cassidy and
Associates, where Jack Abramoff worked, to help them lobby."

As a product of Missouri’s public schools, I am deeply committed to
public education. In the past, schools suffered from budget
withholdings that were shortsighted and diminished opportunities for
young Missourians. I pledged to Missourians that I would deliver
consistent increases to our schools and that withholdings would stop.
Last year, we fulfilled that promise and delivered 158 million new
dollars to public schools, a 4.4 percent increase. We also passed a new
funding formula that is based on the needs of Missouri school children
rather than the taxing capacity of school districts. At the same time,
we ensured that last year’s budget provided public colleges and
universities with more funding than any budget of the prior

Blunt left the old formula nearly a billion dollars underfunded and
invited a lawsuit becaue we are violating the Missouri Constitution.

In 2005, we did the most basic things in making a Missouri Family
First budget. We set priorities and made choices. We got serious about
getting full value for people’s hard-earned tax dollars. We found and
ended many wasteful practices and created a culture that is committed
to efficiency and responsible stewardship. We put children and
taxpayers first. We changed course to bring the state’s priorities in
sync with the people’s priorities.

Fiscal responsibility in budgeting works hand in hand with policy
changes such as ending lawsuit abuse and establishing the Quality Jobs
initiative. Today’s deficit spending is tomorrow’s job-killing tax
hike. Last year we did not allow ourselves to make spending decisions
under the false illusion that there is no end to state resources. We
cannot dig ourselves into the spending hole that made last year so
challenging. However, we can and should invest dollars wisely in order
to secure an even brighter future.

The budget I present tonight required much thought and
consideration. It lives within the people’s means while funding the
many important services provided by state government.

Hey Guv, can you and Jetton chit chat some other time, and go ahead and finish your speech.

 Notably, the new budget is balanced without new job-destroying taxes
and without borrowing or accounting gimmicks. This is a MISSOURI
balanced budget. Spending and revenue are in balance. Last year we
ended the policy of spending money that we do not have.

My priorities remain clear. From pre-school to college, the state
budget should reflect the number one fiscal priority of state
government – "to educate and prepare our children for the 21st
century." Last year, Melanie and I were blessed with the birth of our
son. We, like all Missourians, want to provide him with every
opportunity to achieve the American dream. At a young age, children’s
minds are eager to learn, and as a state we should look for
opportunities to foster that desire for knowledge so that Missouri’s
students will lead the nation and, more importantly, thrive in the
competitive global marketplace.

So how come last year, you gave less money to our universities than they got during Governor Mel Carnahan's last year in office?

A key component of my comprehensive childhood education commitment
is an increased investment in Parents as Teachers. Parents as Teachers
changes children’s lives and ensures that any developmental delays are
identified and corrected early, providing a bright future for Missouri
children. My new budget provides another $1,000,000 to Parents as
Teachers in addition to last year’s increase.

Shocker...he's for Parents as Teachers. What, no proposal to eliminate First Steps this year?

I am committed to delivering more taxpayer resources to Missouri
schools every year. Last year we increased state aid to education by
$158,000,000. My new budget fully funds the first year of the new
school foundation formula and provides a total increase of 167 million
new education dollars. Combined, these increases will result in 325
million new dollars for schools delivered by my Administration and this
General Assembly.

With the money he added to schools this year, only 9 more years until
the school are receiving what they were entitled to under the old
school formula last year.

We should ensure that as many of those new dollars as possible
reach the classroom. There has already been a great deal of healthy and
beneficial discussion regarding my proposal to deliver at least 65
percent of the education tax dollar to teachers and students, with
others defending the current system. I do not believe it is acceptable
to lag behind nearly every other state in teacher salaries or for some
districts to spend only 52 or 53 cents of each education dollar on
student instruction. That is not good stewardship of tax dollars.

65% Illusion. The Governor is still shilling for out of state interests
who proposed the 65% solution as a purely political tool.

I have heard comments and suggestions for adjustments to the
education community’s definition of what constitutes classroom
instruction. The definition is not my own. It belongs to the education
establishment, but it is clearly not sufficient. I am open to
meaningful discussion on this issue, but the bottom line is that more
dollars must be delivered to the classroom.

"I am open. In other words, give me anything I can call a 65% solution, no matter what it really does, and I will sign it."

Learning does not begin in kindergarten nor does it end after high
school. Prior to my service as governor, colleges and universities were
hit with significant cuts. This year, my budget calls for a $17,000,000
increase for state colleges and universities, providing them with the
resources they need to improve quality and hold back tuition increases.

"I propose giving the Universities less than they got in Governor Mel Carnahan's last year in office."

The A+ program is an additional tool that helps young Missourians
stay in school and ensures that advanced learning is a reality for more
Missourians. My budget increases state funding for A+ by $1,800,000,
which will allow additional Missouri young people to attend community
college and acquire the skills they need to be competitive in today’s
global economy.

"I propose taking credit for a program Mel Carnahan created over the opposition of nearly every GOP member of the legislature."

Residential care facilities such as Boys and Girls Town and Edgewood
provide the love and support that can dramatically impact troubled
children’s lives. Last year my budget recommended a $2,100,000 increase
in funding for these care providers. This year, I am pleased to include
2.8 million new state dollars in my budget request for residential care

"I propose that we give more money to my campaign contributors."

Smoking is one of the leading healthcare cost drivers. In Missouri,
smoking takes thousands of lives and devastates families. We all pay
the costs of smoking through increased insurance premiums, social
welfare for smokers and most significantly through the loss of family
and friends afflicted with cancer. The tobacco settlement funds have
been misused in the past, and I propose that one million of those
dollars be spent on smoking prevention and cessation this year.

How did you misspend the money last year?  You are spending $1
million out of how much on smoking cessation?

Wait until his stepmom, the Phillip Morris lobbyist finds

The spike in gas prices and home heating costs has hit all of our
families. Fortunately, common sense policies and regulations in
Missouri have resulted in residential utility rates that are the eighth
lowest in the nation. However, some seniors and low income Missourians
have been pushed past their financial ability to keep up, and we must
respond. In order to help low-income Missourians pay high winter
heating bills I ask that $6,100,000 be dedicated immediately to
Missouri’s Utilicare program.

This program has never been fully funded and has received no funding
since 2001. This crucial funding will provide real assistance to
seniors and low-income Missourians. No Missourian should have to choose
between heating and eating, between utilities or groceries.

"I propose throwing a few bucks at the problem of skyrocketing utility
bills. But I am not going to mention that I signed a bill that cause
them to rise by letting utilities have their way with ratepayers. Or, that my brother lobbies for the biggest utility in the state."

Most seniors and disabled adults would like to remain in their own
homes. In-home healthcare is more cost effective, and it allows them to
do so. Last year, working together, we increased funding for in-home
healthcare services. To continue encouraging home care as an option,
this year’s budget calls for a $10,900,000 general revenue increase to
improve the quality and availability of in-home healthcare.

"I propose giving more money to my campaign contributors in the home
health care business. By the way Peter, this helps your contributors

Through the ethanol and bio-diesel incentive programs we are
encouraging a vital expansion of the economy by producing renewable
fuels and reducing America’s and Missouri’s dependence on the Middle
East while providing ready markets for the farmers of the Midwest. My
budget calls for full funding of Missouri’s bio-diesel and ethanol
incentive funds.

I also call upon this General Assembly to pass an "Energy and Green
Power Initiative," to reach beyond full funding for bio-diesel and
ethanol incentives. I ask that we give Missouri’s heartland economy a
major and lasting boost by requiring that motor fuel sold in Missouri
for passenger cars and trucks contain 10 percent ethanol.

This standard will spur even greater economic development in rural
Missouri. For all of us, it will provide cleaner air, lower prices and
greater independence from Middle East oil supplies. Please stand with
me against special interests and for our farmers, consumers, the
environment and new energy supplies made right here in Missouri.

Ethanol...for it.

As a veteran, I feel a special privilege in leading a state that
respects military service and supports those who have worn the uniform.
In my budget, I ask that you establish a new state veterans’ cemetery,
Missouri’s fifth, at Ft. Leonard Wood.

Veterans cemeteries....for them.

I also ask that you approve my requested appropriation to strengthen
the Veterans’ Ombudsman program which serves men and women who are
deployed in defense of our freedom and their families as well as those
who have recently returned from deployment.

This night, and everyday as a free nation we are grateful to Missouri’s men and women in arms.

Tonight, we have with us two Missourians who recently returned from
active duty. Please join me in recognizing Major Brian K. Tully of Cape
Girardeau and Master Sergeant Robert Miller of Tebbetts. Both received
the Bronze Star for their service in Iraq.


The state plays a key role in protecting children, families and
seniors from criminals. We must do more to support law enforcement
professionals on the front lines. Missouri has only four accredited,
full service crime labs. I ask that this General Assembly appropriate
funds to staff and equip an additional state crime lab. This new lab
will expedite forensic work, help ensure that case backlogs are not
delaying justice, and get dangerous criminals out of our neighborhoods.

I propose this even though the citizens of Springfield recently rejected a proposal to fund this themselves.

Drug courts save the state money. A University of Missouri study
demonstrated that the cost per drug court participant is $5,400 versus
the $14,000 cost the state bears to incarcerate a drug related inmate.
Many non-violent drug offenders can be better punished and
rehabilitated through drug courts, which is why my budget provides them
with a $2,100,000 increase.

Drug courts..for them.

We are striving every day for greater efficiency in your state
government. In fact, the budget I am presenting tonight is the first in
eight years that requests funding for fewer than 60,000 state
employees. That is partly due to better management, but it is also
dependent on Missouri’s state employees. They have answered my call to
provide more efficient and effective customer service to Missourians
while at the same time using fewer resources. They are truly doing more
with less. We should reward their good work. An important component of
my budget is the inclusion of a four percent pay raise for state

That means a "bureaucrat" as he calls them that makes $100,000 will
get $4,000 raise and a teacher at the State School for the Deaf, who makes
$25,000 will get $1,000. Hmmmmm....
On November 28, in his column,
the Governor said, "It is wrong to give teachers a $1 raise when the
highest paid employees are getting $3. It is not wise. It is not fair.
It is wrong. "

One of government’s most basic responsibilities is to respect and
safeguard the rights of the people. Sadly, a recent U.S. Supreme Court
decision undermined those very rights.

I was offended by the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Kelo
versus New London case. This ruling allows governments to take private
property for the use and profit of private interests. This ruling was
wrong. Churches and places of worship across our state that contribute
immeasurably to society but generate no tax revenue should not fear the
forced sale of their land.

I believe the work of my task force on this issue provides the
Legislature with a sound basis for "fixing" the Kelo decision and
ensuring that eminent domain abuses in Missouri are forever ended. I
look forward to working with you to protect homeowners, farmers and
small business men and women all across the state.

Eminent domain--bad, especially for churches. 

I recognize the importance of healthcare to every Missouri family,
and I believe we have an obligation to provide assistance to those
truly in need of help. Last year, we took important steps to save
Medicaid for our neediest citizens and began a process of reform. What
few Missourians have heard is that we spent more money on Medicaid last
year than we did the year before. If left unchecked the old program
would literally bankrupt state government within a matter of years.
Missourians know that simply throwing money at the problem without any
other changes would not have solved the problem. Had we not taken
action last year, today it would cost taxpayers an additional
$935,000,000 to fund the old program. For those who continue to clamor
for a return to the old way I ask that you be candid. Be honest with
the people of Missouri and tell them what programs you would cut or
what taxes you would raise. Do not pretend that we can spend money in a
vacuum with no resulting harm to schools or Missouri taxpayers.

My administration remains committed to providing meaningful
assistance to our neediest citizens. Medicaid is an important state
program. That is why my budget asks for 275 million additional state
dollars to sustain its current commitments. This significant increase
will allow us to continue providing healthcare for 16 percent of our
fellow citizens. It also means that this important program will receive
29 percent of the entire budget.

He does not say that 100,000 more Missourians without health
care this year as a result of his policies. Nor does he mention that 20,000 of those Missourians
who lost health care coverage are children--roughly the entire school age population of the Hazelwood School

Federally Qualified Health Centers and Community Health Centers
combine federal, state and community resources with personal
responsibility to expand access to healthcare. My budget provides an
additional $700,000 for the funding of new community health centers
which will benefit tens of thousands of Missourians.

I also believe that technology and innovation are essential to
improve the delivery of healthcare for all Missourians. That is why I
am creating a Healthcare Information Technology Task Force to recommend
ways to harness technology to make better care decisions for patients,
which will lead to better results at reduced costs.

We must prepare now for the healthcare challenges of tomorrow. We
should create a Healthcare Technology Fund to ensure that the basic
technology that is pervasive throughout society is a part of the
improved delivery of healthcare services to Missourians.

Who wants to bet that this is designed to help SBC, his brother's client.  Andy got the Governor to mention an SBC pet project last year, this must be their current ask.  But it makes sense.  If Andy can't get a tiny little $25 million project into the State of the State, how can he keep justifying those enormous fees? 

This funding
will involve multi-year projects that will explore new and innovative
ways that technology can improve the delivery of care, reduce
administrative burdens and eliminate waste and fraud. Programs funded
with this money will emphasize personal responsibility and health
literacy, and create a structure to help Missourians make informed
healthcare decisions. The overarching goal is to improve the health
status of all Missourians. The results will lead to a healthier state
and a more efficient healthcare delivery system. That is why my budget
provides 25 million new state dollars for a new Healthcare Technology

I commend the work of the legislative commission led by Senator
Charlie Shields in outlining a structure for a new healthcare program
that will improve the delivery and quality of healthcare in Missouri.
We must also continue the successful work that has been done to improve
efficiency, eliminate waste and track down and prosecute those who
defraud the medical safety net.

Fraud, whether by dishonest providers or ineligible recipients,
comes at the direct expense of people who truly cannot provide for
themselves. In the past, we had a lackadaisical approach to fraud.
Rooting it out was not a priority, but since January 2005, it has been
one of my chief objectives. Since I assumed office, $138,000,000 of
Medicaid waste and fraud has been identified and corrected.

Way to try to climb aboard the late train. Governor.  He's trying to take credit for the work of Attorney General Jay Nixon.  Congrats Jay!

Missourians by their nature are generous and compassionate to those
in need. We must work together to create a new and better healthcare
system in this state. This new program should contain many elements,
such as additional incentives for employers who provide insurance to
their employees, tax incentives for those who purchase their own
medical, long term care and in-home health insurance, buying pools for
small businesses and individuals to increase their purchasing power,
all as part of an aggressive effort to reduce the number of uninsured

We also must join together to bring greater transparency to our
healthcare delivery system. We must arm Missourians with knowledge
through increased access to information regarding the quality and cost
of healthcare services. This vital information will allow Missourians
to make informed healthcare decisions, and it will drive costs out of
the system.

No state has found a "silver bullet" for the delivery of healthcare,
and no state has the perfect program. All states are struggling with
how to pay the mounting bills. But Missouri is being viewed as a
national leader because of our commitment to innovative solutions for
low-income healthcare and for the comprehensive and complete reworking
of our program in an attempt to provide temporary help for Missourians
during their time of need. Let us work together to create a healthcare
system that offers assurance to our seniors, comfort to our families
and hope to our children.

Clearly the Governor has no idea how to address this problem.  So instead of making a proposal, he will mention Misosuri's standing that is based on the innovative programs of Governor Carnahan and
Governor Holden.

We also must pay particularly close attention to healthcare for our
seniors. We all know the federal government has created a prescription
drug benefit for them and I encourage all Missouri seniors to sign up
for this important new assistance. I look forward to working with all
of you to ensure that the state funded MissouriRx program is a robust
supplement to the federal benefit.

"Please sign up to save my dad and Sen. Talent from embarassment,
even though the program is really better for the big pharmaceutical
companies than it is for you. And the Missouri Senior-RX program that
Bob Holden created, it's really good, but I am not about to give him
any credit for it."

I commend your action last year to make Missouri a leader in
protecting our children from predatory criminals. Tonight, I propose a
new series of crime measures to further protect the safety of our
children. First, I propose that Missouri enact a version of Jessica’s
Law, to impose a life sentence for sex crimes against children with a
minimum of 25 years served in prison. These predators would then be
under lifetime supervision after they complete their time behind bars.

We need to face facts. We have had little success at changing the
behavior of child sex offenders. Too many children have been
permanently scarred for us not to take action to appropriately punish
these evil criminals. We need to lock sexual predators up for a very
long time and monitor them for the rest of their lives.

The Internet has opened a new avenue for dangerous criminals. I am
proposing a mandatory minimum sentence for Internet sex offenders who
entice young children, and I am asking you to require the posting of
their pictures on the Internet. Even if the "child" they think they are
enticing is actually a law enforcement officer, these sexual predators
must be punished.

Sexual predators--bad.

In addition to protecting our children, Missouri must also maintain
commitments to our seniors. Tonight, I urge this body to pass stronger
penalties for those who commit violent crimes or fraud against senior

Seniors--good.  Fraud--bad. 

We are living in an age in which we must always be prepared to
respond to man-made and natural disasters. Just last month the Taum
Sauk reservoir burst releasing 1.3 billion gallons of water into
Johnson Shut-Ins state park, injuring park superintendent Jerry Toops
and his family. Please join me in recognizing Jerry and Lisa Toops, who
are with us tonight.

I am happy to report that Jerry, Lisa and their children, Tanner,
Tara and Tucker have all recovered and are doing well. The prayers of
many Missourians including my own were answered, and we are so pleased
to have them here tonight. The faith they have demonstrated is truly
inspiring. The reservoir that was breached was under federal
jurisdiction and, while Missouri had no authority to inspect the dam,
we will insist that AmerenUE fully compensate those affected and
provide 100 percent reimbursement to the state.

Under legislation Blunt signed last year, the next time a disaster
like that strikes, the ratepayers will pick up the tab, rather than the
shareholders of Andy's client, AmerenUE.

"And by the way, the dam(n?) failure was not my fault."

Working together we have solved many of the problems we faced in
January 2005. Although we must work diligently on the budget before us,
we have contained the raging blaze kindled by past over-spending and
deficit budgeting.

None of the new investments that I have proposed here tonight would
be possible had we not acted last year to improve our jobs climate and
control unsustainable spending. Increased funding for schools, the
strengthening of the safety net and holding the line on taxes depend
upon responsible budgeting decisions.

Our record is clear. We promised a balanced budget without
accounting tricks or tax increases. We have turned an over one billion
dollar shortfall into a surplus, and we will build a brighter future
for all Missourians on a solid financial foundation.

We promised to re-fire the economic engine of opportunity, and we
have created a jobs environment which has resulted in 28,000 more
Missourians achieving the dignity and independence a paycheck provides.

We promised to develop a better way to fund schools and to make the
teaching of young people our first priority. The new student need-based
funding formula is now the law, and I have recommended that we fully
fund it.

What he means is that he is making a 10% down payment on it. When
it is fully funded, it will provide roughly the same amount that the
schools were entitled to last year under the old formula.

We promised better stewardship and to fight waste and fraud.
Millions of taxpayer dollars have been saved, and we will continue our
ongoing efforts to achieve greater efficiency.

It may not be normal in politics, but what we have promised is what we have delivered.

As we tackle other tough issues ahead we should keep in mind the
words of the Bible that "to whomever much is given, much will be
required." We have been blessed as a people, as Americans and as
Missourians. We have a moral obligation to set very high expectations
for the future.

For all you heathens, that's Luke 12:48 

Every Missourian should be able to achieve their full potential, be
blessed with financial security and be comforted knowing that we will
keep our commitments and work together to build the Missouri of our

Thank you. May God bless you and may God continue to bless the great state of Missouri.


That's 47 minutes of your life you are never going to get back.



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