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21 October 2010

Davis: Questions on the November Ballot

Every election season constituents ask me about the non-candidate questions they will encounter on the voter-ballot.  If the question changes the state statutes, it is called a proposition.  If it changes the state constitution it called an amendment.  This November, we have two propositions and three constitutional amendments.  If you want to read the full ballot language here is a link to the ballot questions: November 2- Ballot Measures This week I will explain the propositions and next week, the remaining amendments.

Proposition A

Taxing people for earning a living is a bad idea.  Remember the phrase, "The power to tax is the power to destroy"?  Some economists say we have a high unemployment rate because we have such a great unemployment compensation system.  In countries where they have no unemployment compensation system, they have virtually no unemployment because people simply cannot afford to not work.  On the other hand, when people pay a higher taxation rate merely because they earn more wages, we have defined a public policy that discourages meaningful work.

Many people don't realize that those who work in Kansas City and St. Louis forfeit additional wages out of their paychecks than the rest of the state merely because they work in big cities that have the constitutional authority to extract an additional income tax.

Prop A puts the brakes on St. Louis and Kansas City's ability to add this extra layer of income tax on their residents.  Whether the cities like this or not, it could enhance their desirability and ability to attract corporations.

When you get your paycheck, do you look at the net or the gross amount?  Most people look at their take home pay.  If Prop A is successful, it may feel like a pay-raise to the employees because they will see a larger dollar amount that is left after the "garnishment" for taxation is removed.  It may also boost the morale of the employees to see a little more reward for their labor.  That's why many will be supporting Prop A.

If you want to read more about this, click here: Let Voters Decide

Proposition B

Representative Cynthia Davis in her backyard in the heart of District 19 with one of her "grand-dogs", Katie.  She came from a shelter and is living proof that many Missourians have wonderful experiences with dogs coming from all kinds of backgrounds.  Regardless of any hype you may hear, our current laws regarding the care of animals work pretty well.

This proposition has nothing to do with dogs.  It has to do with growing government bigger and making the taxpayer fund it.  The best way to explain Prop B is to ask if the residents of this state are smart enough to know how to take care of their pets without the government dictating down to the level of their food and beverage service.  After reading the ballot language, it would make one wonder why dogs and cats are not extinct in Missouri if we don't have government telling us how to take care of them already.  In addition to the first reason, many will be voting against this because we, the taxpayers will have to pick up the additional expense of enforcing the new law.  At some point we need to trust our residents to manage their pets.  We already have laws that remove pets from people who don't properly care for them.

The reality is Prop B is a "Big Government" notion promoted by those who think more tax dollars will solve every issue.  With a Republican majority in the legislature, we are too busy working on ideas to get government out of our lives and wallets; therefore short of putting this on the ballot, there would be no other way for this to pass.  If this were such a good idea, the elected officials could make this a law in any city or county or in our entire state any time we wanted to do so.

If you would like to learn more about this, click here: What's behind Prop B.

Dialoging with you is good, so please let me know what you think about these ballot initiatives. You can send me your opinion by clicking here: Cynthia Davis

A Little Bit of Humor

One beautiful autumn day, a Park Ranger discovered a man sitting in the woods chewing away on a dead Bald Eagle. "Hey mister, the Bald Eagle is a protected species, and killing one is punishable offence", said the Park Ranger.

The man was swiftly arrested, and ushered before the judge.

In court, he pleaded innocent to the charges against him, claiming that if he didn't eat the bald eagle he would have died from starvation.

"I was so hungry" complained the defensive camper, "the Bald Eagle was the only food I could find!"

To everyone's amazement, the judge ruled in his favor.

In the judge's closing statement he asked the man, "I would like you to tell me something before I let you go. I have never eaten a bald eagle, or ever plan on it. But I'd like to know: What did it taste like?"

The man answered, "Well, it tasted like a cross between a Whooping Crane and a Spotted Owl."

Rupp: Monitoring the Sale of Pseudoephedrine Products in Our State

An innovative, statewide computer network tracking the sales of drugs containing pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient found in cold medicines, will soon be found in all Missouri pharmacies. The monitoring of these products is necessary, due to the fact that the drug can also be used to produce an illegal drug in our state – methamphetamine.

Past studies have shown that 7.1 percent of persons in Missouri age 12 or older have reported using meth one or more times during their life. This drug is very dangerous, causing possible psychosis, loss of memory, violent behavior, and mood disturbances. The highly hazardous production process is getting easier as well, luring people in to making their own drugs that require only a few components.

Considering this alarming trend, the statewide computer network is designed to notify law enforcement and pharmacies if a buyer is purchasing products containing pseudoephedrine at several different stores or pharmacies, stopping that person from getting the materials they need to produce methamphetamine.

In 2005, the Missouri General Assembly passed and the governor signed Senate Bill 10, which limits the amount of some over-the-counter cold medications containing pseudoephedrine that customers can buy. Purchases are limited to quantities of nine grams of medicine in a 30-day period and sales are required to be logged. Gel capsules and syrup forms of pseudoephedrine-based medicines were not included in the legislation, since dry tablets are normally sought for meth production.

Further legislation addressing meth production in our state was passed in 2008. With the governor's signature on SB 724, pharmacies' monitoring of pseudoephedrine purchases became more advanced by upgrading from a paper log to an electronic log. The law also requires a photo ID to be issued with each purchase.

Currently, more than 340 of Missouri's estimated 1,300 pharmacies are registered with the online network and participate in the program. Several other pharmacies stated that they will be registered by the end of this year. Many pharmacists and law enforcement officers will undergo training to familiarize themselves with the new computer system.

We continue to take the issue of eliminating methamphetamine labs and preventing meth addiction in Missouri very seriously. The safety of our state's citizens is always a top priority.

If you have any questions or comments about this or any other topic regarding state government, please visit my website, e-mail me, or call my office at (866) 271-2844.

19 October 2010

Purgason: Propositions on the November 2 Ballot

We will soon have an opportunity to go to our respective polling places and cast our ballots.  I would like to take this chance to express my views on the ballot issues we will be voting on.  No matter what your stance is on the issues, please exercise your right to vote.

There will be two Propositions on the November ballot.  Propositions allow you, the voter, to make changes to the state statutes.  They have no impact on the state constitution.

Let's begin our discussion of November 2 ballot issues with Proposition A.

There is no economic law or historic example to quarrel with the benefits of prosperity to society. Related descriptors include productivity, efficiency, opportunity, risk/reward, success, and achievement. Prosperity is sought, not just for its own merit, but for its pervasive, extraordinary, and overwhelmingly positive effects. Evidence as well as common sense confirms that no one benefits from poverty, and everyone benefits from prosperity.

Without exception, an examination of nations, states, or peoples confirms the link between prosperity and a clean environment, a healthy society, education, recreation, transportation, technology, convenience, and the list goes on. Too often public policy – particularly tax policy – works against the benefits of prosperity. Prop A, if passed in November, will allow voters in St. Louis and Kansas City to realign with the principles of prosperity and will help protect all Missourians from local officials who might naively impose jobs-killing taxes on their earnings.

For years our two largest cities have imposed a 1% tax on the wages of individuals who live or work in their jurisdictions and on business profits. Voters functionally powerless to eliminate or modify the earnings taxes, and nothing but common sense (frequently in short supply) protects other Missouri cities and towns from politicians' propensities to take more. Passage of Prop A will not prohibit earnings taxes but will amend state statutes to require a vote of tax payers every five (5) years to continue imposing the tax. In other words, it sunsets the existing and any future taxes on earnings – hence the slogan "Vote Yes on A – Let Voters Decide."

If voters reject an existing earnings tax the cities are allowed to phase it out over 10 years allowing officials to examine whether the revenues are essential and how to replace them. Kansas City and St. Louis need prosperity if they are to create jobs, build schools, and grow. Job-killing taxes on earnings hinder that growth, and at the very least should be subject to the vote of the peoples.

Many of us in the Missouri House were expecting the November ballot to include a vote to eliminate all state taxes on income, but that hope was thwarted by the reluctance of Speaker Richard and other members of House leadership. The Missouri Jobs and Prosperity Act [SJR29] now must wait another year.  But the principles of Prop A are the same. It is simply bad policy to tax what we want more of – success and prosperity. Until Missouri aligns public policy with the laws of economics and common sense, we will continue to be our own worst enemy. Let's pass Prop A in November and turn loose the power of economic prosperity.

Proposition B will be on Missourian's November 2nd ballot.  No matter how it is promoted it is fundamentally the product of ignorance.  It reflects ignorance about breeders, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the power of the free market, property rights, and liberty. It is being driven by propaganda rather than truth and depends on emotional appeal rather than the achievement of meaningful reform.

Advertisements supporting Prop B state that there are more than 3,000 puppy mills in our state.  According to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, there are 2,813 licensed kennels in Missouri, 1.451 of those are commercial breeders.  These facilities are inspected at least once a year.

Missourians love their pets and hate to see animals abused.  Dog breeders, and I have met a number of them, raise dogs because they love dogs and enjoy seeing others find just the right dog for their family.  The goal of these small business people is to satisfy the public's longing for pets at a cost most can afford A single flea bite on an otherwise perfect puppy means an unacceptable price penalty along with the determination to find and fix any problem.  If a puppy has anything more serious, they might just be refused.  It simply does not pay to mistreat animals.  But the best breeder would be hurt the most by Prop B.

Many are ignorant about the nature and objectives of HSUS – the organization behind Prop B.  A visit to or will help you assess whether their intentions have anything at all to do with the treatment of animals.  HSUS's own website lists 14 executives whom it is reported received $2.5 million in 2008 in pension benefits alone; their salaries are not available. In that same year less than a half million dollars went to animal shelters (less than 0.5% of their budget).

However, most harmful is ignorance of the significance of property rights to basic American freedoms.  There is no more important unalienable right that our constitution secures than that of property rights.  Personal property – almost unheard of before the United States exceptional founding – is the right that guarantees all others.  It is the only right that once lost will almost certainly not be restored short of armed conflict.  Prop B directly assaults property rights and for that reason alone is completely unacceptable and should be ruled unconstitutional.  But the courts aside, no issue is important enough to concede to government our last defense against its abuse of the people.

Dispelling ignorance about what is actually in Prop B will help defeat it at the ballot box.  First of all, the use of the word "cruelty" is to invoke prejudice, not reason.  For example, keeping 51 dogs is cruel but keeping 50 is not; keeping a dog in a 5' by 5' 11" enclosure is cruel while adding one inch to the length makes it kind; kennel temperature of 45 degrees F is kind while 44 degrees is cruel.  "Cruelty" is not for the dog; it is for the emotional appeal.  We're told Prop B is for "large-scale" breeders, but just 11 female dogs makes you a "large-scale" breeder, and your animal quarters will have to be heated and air conditioned.  Finally, if Prop B is about animal cruelty then why are hunting dogs excluded from the regulations?

Proposition B is not about animals or about cruelty, it is an assault on property rights, small businesses, and the free market.  It employs a proven strategy for stripping rights from the people and empowering the elitists: 1) find an innocent lovable party - puppy, 2) make them a victim with an emotion-stirring label - puppy mill, 3) make "more government" the solution – Prop B.  If voters take a broader and thoughtful perspective and if they insist that freedoms be protected and that policies be logical rather than emotional, then American ideals will win, and Prop B will fail in November.

As always, you may contact me at 573-751-1882, e-mail to chuck{dot}purgason{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov or write to me at State Capitol, Room 420, 201 West Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65101.