Hulshof, Nixon Spar Over Economy, Spending, and Past Records
On Friday, Congressman Kenny Hulshof and Attorney General Jay Nixon took one last chance to explain their policies and tie each other to current problems in the state. KSMU's Benjamin Fry reports. Following a politics-packed day in Springfield, the two candidates for Missouri governor took the stage at local NBC affiliate KY3 to make their final appeal to voters.The debate was a joint effore between KY3, KSMU, Ozarks Public Television, and the Springfield News-Leader.In an election year all about reform, each candidate continued to label the other as a counteractive force to change.Hulshof says the Attorney General has been in Missouri politics too long..."Actually what we've heard from Mr. Nixon are old ideas," Hulshof said.....while Nixon says the Congressman would bring the wrong mentality to the Governor's seat. "At this difficult and challenging juncture, we don't need Washington politics in Missouri," Nixon said.Thay also faced panelist questions as to how they would pay for their plans, including how to stimulate the economy.Hulshof wants to use part of the so-called "Rainy Day Fund" to give incentives for small business owners to add jobs."What we've put forward is, if you're a small business in one of the 32 counties where unemployment is 7 percent or higher, that you would get a tax rebate based upon the additional payroll of those workers that you're adding," Hulshof said.As for Nixon, he says he plans to lift up the middle class by investing in education and job training, and making Missouri an energy exporter."So instead of waiting a year and a half to get windmills to make electricity in Missouri, how about we make those right here? How about we talk to autoworkers about building a new 45 mile-per-gallon flex-fuel vehicle that we know is going to be built in America?" Nixon said.In describing his healthcare platform, Hulshof says low-income Missourians who have lost their Medicaid coverage would have help paying premiums through a health savings account. As for those with more income..."We would provide tax incentives for them to purchase a private-sector based plan," Hulshof said.Nixon faulted Hulshof for embracing what he calls a failed healthcare plan under the current governor, and says the Congressman's plan would get rid of vital healthcare mandates."He has consistently voted against those sorts of things that we have passed here in Missouri, to make sure that we stand up to the insurance industry, and provide healthcare policies that deliver for Missourians," Nixon said.The candidates also discussed their views on how to improve education in Missouri.Nixon says he supports public charter schools."We have the ability to switch from one school to another, we have public charter school abilities here in Missouri that are still beginning, they are in their earliest stages," Nixon said.Hulshof says the government should focus its attention on urban public schools that are failing.He says as Congressman, he has taken bold steps to reform the school system in St. Louis."Because there are 18,000 kids, for instance, in that school system that are trapped, they are being failed right now. Not letter grade failed, but the system has trapped them and we can't wait another generation because you only grow up once," Hulshof said.Proposition B was also discussed, with polarizing views from the candidates.This ballot initiative would empower people working in the home healthcare field through the state's Medicaid program.Nixon supports it, pointing out the need for licensing and more professional standards for home health workers. Hulshof opposes it, because he says it would allow these workers to unionize.For KSMU News, I'm Benjamin Fry.