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Governor Proposes More Education Funding and Cuts to Medicaid

Missouri's Republican Governor Matt Blunt gave his State of the State Address Wednesday night. KSMU's Missy Shelton has the highlights from the speech and reaction from democratic leaders. She files this report.

During his speech and in his budget proposal, Governor Matt Blunt urged lawmakers to spend more money on public schools'But to get the money for education, his plan calls for thousands of people to be removed from Medicaid, the government funded healthcare program. His proposal also finds money for schools by eliminating more than one thousand state jobs.

Blunt says the Medicaid program is too large and he says it's putting a drain on other areas of state government.

But democrats criticized Blunt's plan to remove thousands from the Medicaid program.

Jeff Harris is the House Democratic Leader.

Under the governor's budget proposal, more than one thousand state jobs would be cut.

Blunt said during his speech more jobs will cut.

Democratic leaders questioned Blunt's decision to cut state jobs.

The senate's top democrat is Maida Coleman.

In his speech, Blunt did urge lawmakers to approve a one percent pay increase for all state workers'with the exception of elected officials.

By cutting the number of state employees and by reducing the Medicaid program, Blunt says he'll be able to give public schools more money.

And he says wealthy school districts that want to rely solely on local taxes instead of state dollars should be rewarded.

But not many democrats applauded this proposal.

Attorney General Jay Nixon gave the democrats' rebuttal to the speech.

He said this idea of exempting some schools from state regulations concerns democrats.

The governor was not available Wednesday night to clarify any of parts of his speech.

He's expected to make a stop in Springfield Friday to talk more about his budget and legislative priorities.