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06 September 2011

Berry: Special Session, WOW Kansas City

As many of you already know, Governor Nixon has called for a special session of the legislature to convene on September 6th. There are four subjects that we will be addressing.
  1. Local control of the St. Louis police force [HB1]: Since the civil war the state of Missouri has had control of the police force. The bill that we will discuss, and most likely pass, will restore to St. Louis control of its police force. This action will put pressure on Kansas City request the same thing. Kansas City does not have control of its police force because of corruption during the Pendergast era of the 1920's and 30's.
  2. Tax amnesty [HB2]: The state will forgive individuals and businesses that have failed to pay their taxes on time. If they pay their taxes now they can forgo the penalties they have accrued. While I am not against this amnesty, I do have a problem with the state counting on these assumed payments to bring in additional revenue to keep our budget in balance.
  3. Sporting events tax credits [SB2]: The thought behind this bill is that large, one-time events like the NCAA tournament are going to states that provide these credits.
  4. Economic development: Some people refer to this as job creation. Jobs and job concerns were the number one subject noted as I polled constituents on their doorsteps last year. Constitutions questioned how they were they going to get or keep a job to support their families. This topic should have been the number one thing that we discussed and worked on; unfortunately, it was not. That brings us to September and special session. We will have the opportunity to create new tax credits for three business ideas. The hope is that these new tax credits will encourage businesses to locate here and, consequently, employ more people. Three ideas/thoughts stem from this proposal:
    1. Aerotropolis is a development around Lambert airport in St. Louis. The expectation is to attract Chinese companies to create a freight hub. The projected cost to the state is 360 million dollars. The hope is that this investment would create 10,000 jobs.
    2. Idea two is giving tax credits to companies that would create Data Centers in Missouri. Data centers are locations that store the information content of the internet. Missouri has a competitive advantage compared to most states because of the price of power in Missouri. This idea will not create lots of jobs, but it does have the potential to create a cluster of technology jobs.
    3. MOSIRA (Missouri Science & Innovation Reinvestment Act) is the third idea. MOSIRA would create a funding source to spark growth in research and technology enterprises. This is accomplished by capturing a small percentage of growth in state revenue over a base year from a designated group of Missouri science and innovation companies. The monies would then be transferred into the Missouri Technology Investment Fund. The Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) will administer the funding created by MOSIRA.
I am currently trying to decide if the benefits of Data Centers and MOSIRA are enough for me to vote yes on the bill. Aerotropolis, in my opinion, is a risk for the state of Missouri. All three items will be packaged in an Omnibus bill. That means I have to vote yes on all of them or no on all of them.

Please give me your thoughts.

WOW Kansas City will be held in Swope Park Sept. 23-24

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., Aug. 25, 2011 – Have you ever wanted to learn skills that will enhance your outdoor adventures? If you answered yes, then WOW Kansas City is for you. WOW Kansas City will be held in Swope Park Sept. 23-24 and registration is open now.

The WOW National Outdoor Recreation and Conservation School is packed with opportunities for people of all ages to learn outdoor recreation skills. The event is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation; Bass Pro Shops; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri Department of Conservation; Wonders of Wildlife; the National Park Service and Missouri State University. The event will begin on Friday evening with a camping opportunity, and will continue from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

WOW Kansas City is designed to teach participants how to enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreation activities while practicing personal safety and outdoor responsibility. WOW will offer classes in a variety of outdoor skills including archery, fishing, canoeing, campfire cooking, camping and more. Participants will camp at Swope Park and participate in Saturday classes at James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area. Transportation to the wildlife area will be provided from Swope Park.

Classes are open to anyone age nine or above; however, nine to 12 year olds must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to classes. The trained professionals provide hands-on instruction for people who may not be familiar with the outdoors and children who may be experiencing nature for the first time. The workshop is a great opportunity for families to learn activities together and take the "Children in Nature Challenge."

The cost to attend is $15 per person or $30 per family, making it an affordable day of family fun. Financial assistance is also available. Advance registration is required and the deadline to register is Sept. 9.

Camping on Friday night will be held at Camp Lake of the Woods in Swope Park and will begin at 4 p.m. with tent setup and a hands-on outdoor cooking experience (food is provided). Evening activities will include an owl program and family activities and hikes. Tents will be available to those who do not have one and can be reserved through the registration process.

For more information or to request a registration packet, contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources by calling toll free 800-334-6946 (voice) or 800-379-2419 (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) or sending an email to moparks{at}dnr{dot}mo{dot}gov. Registration information and forms are also available on the web at

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