JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation authorizing tax incentives for big-time sports events and some charitable donations.
Nixon highlighted his support for the charitable tax breaks by traveling to a food bank in Cape Girardeau on Friday. He signed the sports incentives without comment.
The sports legislation authorizes up to $3 million of tax credits annually for organizations that host amateur sporting events such as NCAA tournaments or Olympic trials. Lawmakers hope the cash will help Missouri compete with other states.
The other bill reinstates tax credits for donations to food pantries, child advocacy centers and pregnancy resource centers that had expired in recent years. Nixon says the tax credits can leverage private donations to help "our most vulnerable citizens."
Both bills were passed by the Legislature on March 13.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is continuing to push for a Medicaid expansion, but he's open to alternatives that could use federal money to buy private insurance for lower-income adults.
Nixon said in an interview Thursday that he's willing to consider an Arkansas model that would use Medicaid money to purchase policies through an online insurance exchange created under President Barack Obama's health care law.
The 2010 law called for states to expand Medicaid to adults earning up to 138 percent of poverty, or $32,500 for a family of four. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year made that optional for states.
Nixon is visiting Hermann and Perryville to build support for a Medicaid expansion. Republican legislators have rejected his plan. But Nixon says he hopes for a compromise.
Nixon made the announcement Tuesday while on a trade trip that also includes a visit to South Korea.
The governor said his administration signed a $500 million agreement with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and a $200 million agreement with the Taiwan Feed Industry Association. He also met with government officials and Taiwanese importers of Missouri products.
As an example of the business agreements reached on the trip, Nixon said that Garden City-based NeCo Seeds had closed deals to supply soybean products to two major Taiwanese food distributors.
The governor plans to depart Friday for a weeklong trip. He is to be accompanied by first lady Georganne Nixon, the directors of the departments of agriculture and economic development and four state lawmakers - Republican Sen. Jay Wasson of Nixa; Senate Democratic leader Jolie Justus of Kansas City; Republican Rep. Lincoln Hough of Springfield; and Democratic Rep. Gail McCann Beatty of Kansas City.
The delegation also includes representatives of several businesses, agricultural groups and universities.
The governor's costs are being covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes economic development.
The itinerary includes a visit to Taipei, Taiwan, on March 17 and Seoul, South Korea, on March 19.
Nixon said Thursday that the proposed one-half cent sales tax hike would be especially harmful to seniors and veterans on fixed incomes and also could also hurt working-class parents trying to provide for their children.
The bill given initial approval Wednesday night by the Republican-led Senate also includes a three-quarters of a percentage point decrease in the state income tax for individuals and businesses. That income tax cut would more than offset the sales tax hike, resulting in an estimated $450 million loss in state revenues once both tax changes are fully phased in.
The legislation needs another Senate vote before it can move to the House.
Missouri currently enjoys a triple-A rating.
But Moody's Investors Service last week assigned a negative outlook to Missouri because of the proportion of the state budget that already comes from the federally and state-funded Medicaid program.
If Missouri expands Medicaid eligibility as called for in the federal Healthcare Reform Act, it would get billions of dollars more from the federal government in coming years.
The hospital is Missouri's only maximum and intermediate security psychiatric hospital and is the oldest public mental health facility west of the Mississippi River.
The Department of Mental Health is proposing a new 300 bed, high-security facility that would cost about $211 million.
Officials say current facilities are antiquated and a new building would save utility cots and make for a safer facility.
Fulton State Hospital is in Fulton, Missouri, about 100 miles west of St. Louis.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he'd like to add six days to the school calendar. And southwestern Missouri Republican State Rep. Lyle Rowland is proposing the state base the requirement on hours, rather than both that and days...and he'd like to add another 29-36 hours to the minimum.
Some districts have expressed skepticism because of the added cost and conflicts with existing labor contracts.