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09 March 2010

Roorda: The "Fair Tax" Fraud, Control of St. Louis PD, Energize Misssouri

Just like halftime in a good ballgame, the halfway mark of the legislative session gives members of the General Assembly a chance to catch their collective breath and look back at what's been accomplished. However, the critical issues facing this great state still await.

As February came to a close it seemed an appropriate time to take stock of what has been done in session so far this year. As of March 1st there have been 1,095 House Bills filled this year. Of those bills, 393 have been referred to committee. Fifty-Seven (57) House Bills have been reported "Do Pass" out of committee.  A mere, 10 bills have been approved by House and sent to the Senate for consideration.

By far the largest issue looming in the final weeks of the session will be the state budget.  What was already expected to be a difficult budget worsened earlier this week with the news that the revenue estimate agreed upon by the Republican budget chairmen of the House and Senate and the Governor for the coming fiscal year was too optimistic.

As a result, difficult decisions will need to be made as lawmakers set spending priorities within the tighter financial parameters.  After putting the budget process on hold for a week, the House Budget Committee chairman on Wednesday submitted a substitute spending plan that includes $300 million he had previously maintained won't be available.

"The constitutional duty to write the budget rest with the General Assembly, and right now it is unclear exactly how much money is available", said Assistant House Minority Leader, JC Kuessner.  "Until the revenue picture becomes clearer, the state must be extremely cautious about making promises that it may not be able to keep."

In addition to crafting a responsible budget, during the second half of the session House Democrats will focus on two issues that both parties indentified as priorities at the beginning of the year but that have not yet been debated on the House floor - job creation and meaningful ethics reform, including restoring the state's campaign contribution limits.

"The economic health of this state depends on putting Missourians back to work," LeVota said.  "The health of state government depends on making it more accountable by holding elected officials to higher ethical standards and reducing the influence of special interest money in elections and in government."

To view the video of the Democrat Press Conference click below:
Democrat Press Conference ~ Part 1
Democrat Press Conference ~ Part 2


Jeff Roorda
Minority Whip
State Representatives

The "Fair Tax" Fraud

As a Democratic Representative, my number one priority has always been protecting working families. In evaluating SJR-29 and HJR-56, policymakers should have a clear understanding of how broad the tax base could actually be under such a plan, what the tax rate would actually have to be in order to make the plan revenue-neutral overall, and how the plan overall would affect Missourians at different income levels.  The main findings are that the revenue-neutral tax state sales tax rate under SJR 29 would likely have to be over 11 percent, more than twice as high as the bill's language specifies, and that this plan would result in a tax increase for most low- and middle-income Missourians while cutting Missouri taxes for the very best-off taxpayers.  But more importantly, it will expand the sales tax beyond the retail goods that we currently pay sales tax on to the services that we do not.  That would include private school tuition, accounting services, medical treatment, attorney services and even haircuts.  If any of those services were to be exempted out, it would increase the proposed sales tax rate even higher.

The crushing burden that this would place on Missouri consumers would cripple our economy.  The proponents call this the "Fair Tax."  There is nothing at all fair about this tax.  It is a "flat tax" and it is flat wrong.

This legislation was proposed by Republican State Representative Ed Emery and Republican State Senator Chuck Purgason.  This legislation is a Republican priority and only two Democrats in the entire legislature have put their support behind the proposal.  You can find a list of the sponsors and co-sponsors of the Resolutions by visiting these links:  NO "Fair Tax" HJR-56 Legislation and NO "Fair Tax" SJR-26 Legislation

I suggest that you write those lawmakers and express your dissatisfaction over these proposals.  As your representative and as the House Democratic Whip, you can count on me to fight with all my might against this awful, awful proposal.  This is war on the middle class and I am ready for battle.

The Battle for Control

On Monday March 1, the Urban Issues committee voted to move a bill regarding control of the St. Louis City police force out of committee with a vote of 5-3. The bill, however, was hotly contested by Republicans and Democrats alike. The legislation would change who the St. Louis chief of police reports to. Currently, the chief of police reports to a board made up of the mayor of St. Louis and four gubernatorial appointees. However, if enacted the legislation would shift control of the St. Louis police force to a public safety director appointed by the mayor. Representative Roorda opposed the bill saying, "the bill leaves too many unknowns for the police officers and leaves them at the mercy of city hall." Giving control of the police force to St. Louis city's government could create a situation where the police have to act according to the whims of the local government, instead of carrying out their jobs effectively.

To read the entire story click here.

Jamie McMurray Day

Thursday, February 25th NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray was at the Capital to speak with Legislators and receive congratulations for his recent Daytona 500 victory. McMurray was born in Joplin Missouri, and came back to his native Missouri to celebrate his February 14th Dayton triumph. I had the pleasure of visiting with the decorated driver and received some valuable tips from the decorated driver. McMurray led the race for only two laps, the least ever in Dayton history and beat out Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the win.

Energize Missouri

I wanted to make you aware of the Energize Missouri Housing Initiative, a program offered by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The purpose of the program is to boost energy savings and cutting utility costs for Missouri low-income families. The Department of Natural Resources has allocated 25.6 million dollars of funding for the program. To receive funding an application must be submitted to the Department by March 31, 2010. Eligible applicants include community action agencies as well as other public or not for profit groups. A pre-bid informational meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on March 9 at the Lewis & Clark State Office Building, 1101 Riverside Drive, Jefferson City. A primary component of every proposal must be the delivery of energy-efficiency improvements and services to clients. Application forms and full program details may be found on the department website at: DNR - Energize Missouri


Thank you for your phone calls and e-mails on HJR-86!  They are making the difference.

HJR-86 essentially passed the house this week, but we successfully retained good health ordinance protections through out rights to local control!

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