Additional information from 21st and 24th House district candidate forums

The candidates for the 21st House district, John Cauthorn, R-Mexico, and Kelly Schultz, D-Shaw, were asked about the Missouri Hospital Association’s plan to receive federal funding.  Schultz strongly supported it.  She said that even though it had been supported by Gov. Jay Nixon and passed through the Senate, it had been turned down in the House for political reasons.

“It would help hospitals that are struggling with uncompensated care costs rising, so I would absolutely support the plan,” Schultz said.

Cauthorn believed that people might have feared the legislation because they were worried about its potential impact on life issues.

“Some folks were uncomfortable that those dollars were going to to some things they felt were morally incorrect,” he said.  While he didn’t oppose the hospitals accepting federal dollars, he worried that state institutions could become dependent on the federal government.

In the debate featuring 24th District State Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, and Fifth Ward Columbia Councilwoman Laura Nauser, R-Columbia, both candidates were asked how they would maintain certain social services, such as the vaccination of children, in the midst of budget cuts. Kelly anticipated that there would be at least $375 million cut from the next budget, and social services would be an easy target.

“Social services have no fuzzy tigers, marching bands, or big contributors to lobby for them,” he said. However, he believed that a higher cigarette tax could help pay for services during a period of budget cuts.

Nauser said she fundamentally opposes higher taxes, but she believes less-important government programs could be reduced instead.  “We have to weigh which programs are the most important and fund them appropriately,” she said.  “Government doesn’t always necessarily expand, and in the private sector we don’t always necessarily get raises every year.”

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