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Politics

State of the State Address

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/stateofthe_297.mp3

The war of words in the state capitol heated up today when Democratic Governor Bob Holden gave his state of the state address. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports from Jefferson City .

The governor began his speech by talking about bi-partisanship'but 25 minutes later, he was criticizing Republican lawmakers for cutting education funding.

The governor's comments infuriated House Speaker Catherine Hanaway. At a press conference after the speech, Hanaway gave her reaction.

The governor called for a tax increase package that's about the same size as the one he proposed last year. And just like last year, the governor's tax plan targets tobacco, gambling, corporations and wealthy Missourians. Part of the tax package would have to go before voters for approval. Hanaway says even if lawmakers passed the governor's tax increases, most of the money wouldn't go to schools.

But Governor Holden says his priority is schools. And the governor says some Republicans, in private, acknowledge tax increases may be necessary if education is to be the state's number one funding priority.

Just how much is the debate over school funding colored by partisanship? During the governor's speech, a Republican legislative leader shouted at the governor to release the money he's withholding from public schools. The governor ignored the outburst and continued with his speech. The lawmaker who made the comment later said it was a spontaneous reaction to what he called misleading statements in the governor's speech.

Reporting from Jefferson City, I'm Missy Shelton for KSMU News.