Powerful Missouri House Budget Committee chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage) is serving his fourth and final term in the House, due to term limits. He joined us live on 939 the Eagle’s “Wake Up Mid-Missouri” this morning, announcing his candidacy for state treasurer in 2024. He intends to seek the GOP nomination next August. Chairman Smith tells listeners that he has no specific criticism of GOP incumbent Vivek Malek, who was appointed to the position in January by Governor Mike Parson. Representative Smith tells “Wake Up” that the treasurer’s race will be about his own record and his experience in the General Assembly and in business:
One of Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s (R) top priorities appears to be making progress at the Statehouse in Jefferson City. The governor’s proposed 8.7 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all state employees is being reviewed by House Budget Committee chair Cody Smith (R-Carthage). Chairman Smith tells 939 the Eagle that he expects the pay raise proposal to start to move early next week. Governor Parson emphasized the plan’s importance during a live interview this morning on 939 the Eagle’s “Wake Up Mid-Missouri.” The governor says he’s “not asking for the moon,” adding that it’s critical to retain good state employees in areas like corrections, mental health and in the Children’s Division, which is part of the state Department of Social Services (DSS). The governor is optimistic the measure will pass by the March 1 deadline he’s requested:
Missouri’s House Budget Committee chair is optimistic about Governor Parson’s proposed 8.7 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all state employees.
Governor Mike Parson (R) has called on state lawmakers to approve that by March 1, so the increase is included in the paychecks of state employees starting on March 31. The pay raise plan was a key part of the governor’s January State of the State address. House Budget Committee chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage) tells 939 the Eagle that his committee is working that bill through their process, adding that he expects that we’ll see it start to move early next week.
The governor’s pay raise is contained in a $151-million supplemental budget request.
Governor Parson says there are currently about 7,000 open positions in state government, describing his pay plan as an attempt by state government to stay competitive with the market. More than 14,000 state employees work in Cole County, making state government Jefferson City’s largest employer.
Missouri Department of Conservation employees will be included in the governor’s pay raise proposal, if the Legislature approves the plan.
939 the Eagle News has received inquiries from Conservation employees asking if they’re eligible, since the Conservation Department is overseen by the Missouri Conservation Commission. We asked House Budget Committee chairman Cody Smith (R-Carthage), who says the Legislature appropriates for them. The Carthage Republican tells 939 the Eagle that Conservation employees are included in the governor’s recommendation and that if the Legislature approves the plan, Conservation funds would pay for the pay increase.
Smith says the Missouri Department of Conservation has about 1,825 full-time employees.
Governor Parson is calling on lawmakers to approve an immediate 8.7 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for state employees. He wants it done by March 1. The governor says it’s critical for the state to remain competitive with the marketplace.
A key mid-Missouri Democratic state lawmaker is confident that GOP Governor Mike Parson will again fund Medicaid expansion in his proposed budget, which will be unveiled in mid-January.
Medicaid expansion has been a top priority for State Rep. David Tyson Smith (D-Columbia).
“You know so far it was funded, and it was funded last session. I’m confident that it will be funded again. I think what we have to watch out for is some of these resolutions that are being filed. So for example (House) Budget (Committee) chairman Cody Smith (of Carthage) filed it was a joint resolution 117 last year, which curtailed some of Medicaid expansion to make it more difficult. It had work requirements,” Representative Tyson Smith says.
He notes 53 percent of Missouri voters approved Medicaid expansion in August 2020.
“You know the governor’s been doing the right thing, he’s funding it. The administration is doing the right thing. You know, there was some lag going on for awhile. There was a lot of backlog, I think we’ve gotten through a lot of that. And hopefully it will continue to work and you know, people will respect the will of the voters and it will continue to get funded and people can get the health care that they need,” says Tyson Smith.
53 percent of Missouri voters approved Medicaid expansion in August 2020. However, it failed in 107 of Missouri’s 114 counties, and opposition to Medicaid expansion has primarily come from rural GOP lawmakers who represent those districts. Medicaid expansion ended up in the courts, and the Missouri Supreme Court issued a 7-0 decision that the ballot measure was constitutional.
Medicaid expansion is aimed at providing healthcare to Missourians who earn less than $18,000 annually. Supporters say the voters have spoken and that providing health care is better for the state in the long term, as some of the expanded population would have ended up in hospital emergency rooms for health issues.
GOP lawmakers who oppose Medicaid expansion say it will force other state programs to be cut. Statistics from the state Department of Social Services (DSS) show the number of Missourians on Medicaid has increased for at least 12 straight months, from 1.1 million in December 2021 to 1.4 million in November 2022.
Governor Parson will unveil his budget blueprint during his January 18 State of the State address in Jefferson City.