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19 March 2010

Burlison: Leading By Example, House Makes Cuts To Its Own Budget

State revenues are way down, countless Missourians have lost their jobs, and many of our citizens are having difficulty providing for their families. As we continue to find ways to decrease spending in the state, the House is taking steps to make significant decreases in its own budget as well.

Along with the Accounts Committee Chairman, Representative Kenny Jones, we have made an effort to reduce state travel by House members by denying expense reimbursements for most travel expenses. This will save a good portion of the House budget funds.

I also made a motion in our Administration and Accounts Committee to eliminate cellular phone reimbursements, which will save the House $55,000. In addition to this, I was responsible for suggesting the now famous cut to the coffee and bottled water, which will save the House another $25,000.

Unlike the Governor's Office of Administration, we fulfilled our constitutional redistricting responsibilities without using additional fiscal resources. This has amounted to a savings of $100,000 to $200,000 of the House budget fund.

In the past, the House has been a member of several key programs including the NCSL, ALEC, and the Counsel of State Governments. This year, we opted out of our memberships in another effort to reduce spending. This has provided us a total of $345,000 in savings.

Finally, we replaced our paper system in the House Chamber with laptop computers in effort to reduce paper consumption and costs. Although the laptops were expensive, over time we expect to see significant decreases in paper costs.

Along with the House cutting its own budget, I would like to share a couple of noteworthy things with you.

Missouri's second Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday to occur April 19-25
The director of the Missouri Department of Revenue today encouraged citizens considering buying major appliances to participate in Missouri's second Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday in April. The holiday runs April 19-25. People who purchase new ENERGY STAR qualified appliances during the holiday will receive at least 4.225 percent off the purchase, through elimination of the state's sales tax on the purchase. Participating counties and cities may also waive local sales tax on the same purchases.

Some teachers with MSTA also stopped by the office to meet with me and talk:

I am always happy to see visitors from Springfield.

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