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It’s our responsibility to do it.

But there are those who feel that instead of fully funding our schools, we should pull money out of our classrooms in order to experiment with our tax code.

Let’s get something straight: I’ve held the line on taxes every year I’ve been Governor and will do so again this year.

Missouri’s a low-tax state - sixth lowest in the nation - and we like it that way.

I’ve signed four tax cuts as your Governor - specific, targeted tax cuts that have helped our businesses expand and grow. For example, Missouri employers will save $70 million this year alone because we cut the corporate franchise tax.

But here’s what I won’t do: I will not support anything that takes money out of our classrooms.

As we saw last summer, in community after community in all corners of our state, parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, business leaders and concerned citizens spoke out with one united voice.

The people of Missouri said they expect their elected leaders to support public schools, because they know that education is the best economic development tool there is.

High paying jobs, growing businesses, thriving communities - these are goals we share, so let’s invest in the one thing we know will help us achieve them: a workforce that can compete worldwide.

This is the year to send a budget to my desk that puts us on track to fully funding our schools, and builds the Missouri our kids deserve.

We’ve shown that we can work together to create better opportunities for all Missourians. Just look at what we’re doing - together - to serve Missourians with disabilities and mental illness.

In 2010, we passed landmark legislation to require insurance companies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders - and what a difference it’s made for our kids.

Today, because of this law, 1.6 million Missourians have coverage for these proven treatments, and more than 2,500 Missourians were treated for autism spectrum disorders last year.

Our Partnership for Hope continues to be a tremendous and life-changing success for thousands of Missourians with developmental disabilities. My budget expands this vital program to even more Missourians, in more communities across the state.

For years, thousands of Missourians with developmental disabilities were forced to wait months - often years - to get the in-home Medicaid services they needed - people like Nate Huffman from St. Peters, who I met when we first launched the Partnership for Hope in 2010.

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