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28 July 2011

Denison: Eco Devo Agreement Reached, Disaster Funding Update, Road Work In District

“Every artist was once an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Agreement on Economic Development Package Reached; Special Session Likely

The biggest news out of Jefferson City in recent weeks has been the agreement reached by leaders in the Missouri House and Senate on a massive economic development package designed to bring new businesses and jobs to our state and to save our state approximately $1.5 billion over the next decade. It’s a piece of legislation the House passed multiple times during the regular session but failed to secure passage in the Senate. Now, the two bodies have worked together to reach a compromise that has widespread support. It now seems likely the governor will call us back for special session in September to pass this important bill.

One of the key components of the bill would authorize approximately $360 million tax credits to help turn Lambert Airport in St. Louis into an international cargo hub. The idea has support from legislators from all around the state because the creation of an international trade hub in our state would create an incredible increase in demand for all of the products and goods produced here in Missouri. It’s a plan that could create jobs not only in St. Louis but in every part of our great state.

The legislative package agreed to by House and Senate leaders also would include incentives to attract high-tech businesses, data centers and college sporting events. When taken in its entirety the bill contains some very powerful tools we believe will bring in new businesses, create high-paying jobs and provide a significant boost to our economy.

Other critical components to the compromise bill include numerous new accountability measures on existing economic development programs. The proposed reforms include capping the amount programs can spend and instituting a process of legislative renewal or mandatory reviews required by sunsets of programs of four to seven years. These renewals would require the programs to justify their value and economic impact to the full legislature or face automatic elimination. With these accountability measures in place we believe we can save the state approximately $1.5 billion over the next decade.

House Committee Calls on Governor to Include Disaster Relief Funding in Special Session Call

Another piece of news coming out of the Capitol this week is the recommendation of the Interim House Committee on Disaster Recovery to include disaster recovery as a topic of discussion in any special session the governor calls. Specifically, the committee wants the House and Senate to discuss the potential use of the state’s Rainy Day Fund to pay for disaster recovery. House Speaker Steven Tilley formed the committee to take a closer look at the state’s options to help areas devastated by tornadoes and flooding. After weeks of traveling around the state to take testimony, the committee has decided the issue should be a priority in any special session that may happen. Missouri is able to use up to $250 million from the Rainy Day Fund to pay for disaster recovery, but repayment has to begin in the next year with the total amount to be repaid in three years with interest. There is concern this could lead to further budget problems down the road. Because of these concerns, it’s an issue that needs to be discussed by the full legislature.

In the District

Following is the work being accomplished this week on some of the road construction projects in Springfield, the information is from MoDOT:

Route 60/65 Interchange Reconstruction, Springfield

  • Pouring concrete for bridge walls along eastbound Route 60 bridge over Lake Springfield and for the northbound Route 65 bridge over Route 60
  • Grading rock and dirt to build up areas for new westbound Route 60 bridge over railroad tracks
  • Building columns for new eastbound and westbound Route 60 bridges over railroad tracks west of Route 65
  • Paving shoulders along the new northbound lanes of Route 65

Route 65 Six-Laning Project, Springfield

  • Pouring concrete for median wall and paving shoulders between Kearney Street and I-44
  • Pouring concrete approaches to the bridge over Chestnut Expressway
  • Pouring concrete for approaches to the bridge over railroad tracks south of Chestnut Expressway

Campbell Avenue (Route 160/13) Six-Laning Project, Springfield

  • Pouring concrete for ramp widening and new pavement at Campbell Avenue/Route 60 (James River Freeway) interchange
  • Placing rock in ditch along Campbell Avenue at Lakewood Street

Weaver Road Relocation at Campbell Avenue (Route 160/13), Springfield

  • Hauling rock and dirt to raise elevation of Weaver Road west of Campbell Avenue
  • Periodic blasting rock and dirt on east side of Campbell Avenue north of Weaver Road
  • Relocating utility lines in areas

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

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