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Nixon wants to improve Mo. government efficiency

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012

"I've always thought about this not as a kind of light switch but as a broad and substantive discussion," Nixon said.

The governor's budget office last week estimated that Missouri could see nearly $47 million more in general revenues during the first year of a Medicaid expansion in 2014. That would grow to nearly $140 million in 2016, before declining to slightly better than break-even in 2021.

The analysis projects that nearly 260,000 adults would enroll in Medicaid in 2014 if eligibility is raised to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. By 2021, the additional enrollment is expected to reach more than 300,000.

On education, Nixon said he wants to expand a scholarship program, implement a performance-based funding model for higher education and focus on early childhood programs to ensure children are ready when they begin kindergarten. He also called for a discussion about whether to lengthen the academic year for Missouri's K-12 schools.

He said economic development plans include trying to boost tourism and increasing Missouri's exports while continuing to focus on job training programs.

The governor also renewed his call for tighter state campaign finance laws, noting that Missouri does not have campaign contribution limits.

Republicans generally have opposed contribution limits, saying they discourage transparency by creating an incentive to hide the origin of donations. House Republicans have said they plan to seek ethics legislation that would include requiring more nonprofit groups to disclose their donors.

"This is the year that I think the Legislature ought to get serious about passing a thoughtful, broad, comprehensive ethics package," Nixon said. "And I think they can."