Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, has challenged Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon to speak out against the federal health care reform bill.
In an unusual open letter that Kinder said he sent to Nixon on Dec. 30, the state's second-in-command chides the governor for remaining silent.
"Governor, you know the legislation being forced through by your Democrat Party will bankrupt the state of Missouri and yet you say nothing," Kinder wrote. "The time has come for you to take a side on this issue."
Oh, Kinder is widely expected to be a candidate against Nixon in 2012 when Nixon, presumably, will be seeking a second term.
Here's the full text of Kinder's letter:
Dear Governor Nixon:
A federal healthcare takeover and mandate thrust upon us by President Obama, Senator Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on the brink of being passed into law despite the overwhelming public outcry opposing their efforts.
The legislation is convoluted and full of provisions that will raise the cost of living for most everyone in our state. Up to this point you have chosen to remain silent on whether you support the efforts of your fellow Democrats in Congress.
Despite your silence Governors in other states sounded the alarm that this legislation will bankrupt their states. Even fellow Democrat Governor Bredesen of our neighbor state Tennessee called this legislation the “mother of all unfunded mandates” and opposed the legislation.
Missouri’s share of the cost of an expanded Medicaid program would be as high as $450 million per year. The Medicaid program already requires more than $100 million per year in new funding for natural caseload growth.
Some argue this federal takeover is an infringement on state rights and unconstitutional. Regardless of this issue, unless you cut funding to education, Missouri simply does not have the money to afford President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi’s social experiment.
Governor, you know the legislation being forced through by your Democrat Party will bankrupt the state of Missouri and yet you say nothing. The time has come for you to take a side on this issue.
Will you stand with me and speak out against the tax increases, healthcare takeover and mandates being proposed by the federal government?
Or will you abdicate your position to the powers of your fellow Democrats President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Missouri deserves an answer.
Peter D. Kinder
Lieutenant Governor of Missouri