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Politically Speaking: Minority Leader McCann Beatty on the Greitens 'distraction' — and tax cuts

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, center, stands with the rest of the House Democratic caucus during the first day of the 2018 legislative session.
Tim Bommel I House Communications
House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, center, stands with the rest of the House Democratic caucus during the first day of the 2018 legislative session.

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty to the program.

The Kansas City Democrat has been the leader of Missouri House Democrats since 2017. She’s often the public face for a 46-member caucus that regularly faces an uphill battle to outflank the Republican supermajority on key issues.

Most of the attention in Jefferson City these days is over uncertainty around Gov. Eric Greitens. He spoke to reporters on Jan. 22, for the first time since admitting to an extramarital affair before he became governor. Greitens has denied allegations he blackmailed a woman into keeping the infidelity secret and repeatedly said he won’t resign from office.

In the midst of political uncertainty, Greitens last week unveiled his proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The document includes cuts for higher education and the state’s Medicaid program. It comes as both Greitens and Republican lawmakers have expressed interest in cutting taxes, which hasn’t been universally well-received within the General Assembly.

Here’s what McCann Beatty had to say during the program:

  • She’s worried how further tax cuts could dry up funds for state services. “We’re looking at balancing our budget on the backs of our senior citizens,” she said. “We really need to look where we are right now. And to start proposing additional tax cuts isn’t what we need to be doing at this moment.”
  • She warned that Missouri could end up being in a worse position than Kansas after that state passed tax cuts in 2012. That’s because Kansas lawmakers can raise taxes to deal with a funding shortfall. Missouri’s constitution requires most tax increases to go to statewide votes.
  • McCann Beatty said news of the governor’s affair and the allegations of blackmail have created a “distraction” in Jefferson City. “People are much more cautious in what they file and that being related to the governor,” she said.
  • She said she’s developed a good relationship over the years with GOP Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, who served in the Missouri House and Senate before winning statewide office in 2016. Parson would become governor if Greitens changes course and resigns.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Gail McCann Beatty on Twitter: @GailBeatty

Music: “Song for Dan Treacy” by MGMT

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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