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07 October 2011

Neth: Autumn In Full Swing, Visit To Kellybrook, Ford Announcement

We finished up another day of Special Session in Jefferson City on Thursday. The House debated and passed a comprehensive economic development bill that will now be sent back to the Senate (it originated in the Senate). We made several changes to the original bill sent to us by the Senate, but in my opinion kept the spirit and intent of it. As in all legislation there has to be compromise in both bodies in order for something to get done and I feel the House has done its part in this process. From here the bill goes back to the Senate. They can either pass the bill as is, in the House form, or if they do not, then it can go to a conference committee to hash out the differences and we come back for one more vote. Another option is that it just dies and in all likelihood the session in over.

I am not a fan of being back in session for many reasons, but primarily that it takes me out of district and away from my family. Of course there is an additional cost to having Special Session, but the amount is relatively small due to the fact that the members are only reimbursed for the time they are in Jefferson City. Given the fact that only members of the committees that hear a bill need to be in Jeff and then the whole body only a few days out of that, the fiscal impact is not what might be expected. I know some would think that any additional expense is not appropriate and I respect that view, but I just want people to know that it is not a huge expense. This is especially in light of the fact if we do what we should, the net impact of the legislation we might pass would greatly outweigh any cost of the Special Session. As an example see the article below about the recent announcement at the Ford plant.

An interesting dynamic going on in the Legislature right now is that there is less argument between the Majority and Minority parties than there is between the House and the Senate. It certainly is creating an interesting situation and one that is still yet to play out entirely. At some point I might put a few of my own thoughts on this out, but I will save that for another day.

I love autumn and it is in full swing. There are some beautiful trees showing up in the area and it is a joy to drive down the streets. Take time to enjoy the great weather by getting out- take a walk, go to a sporting event or just sit outside.


Kellybrook 3rd Grade Visit and Visit to Triality

At right: Kellybrook 3rd Grade class on Oct. 5, 2011

I had a great time visiting the 3rd grade classroom of Kara Stanley at Kellybrook Elementary in Liberty. We talked about how important books and reading are and then read a book together. They asked some great questions and I really enjoyed the visit.

I also visited Triality in Liberty which is a great organization that empowers adults and children with disabilities to lead fulfilled lives. The visit included meeting some of the people in the program who are gaining meaningful employment in the area and discussing how we can better serve these people and the community by connecting them to do so.

Ford makes expansion announcement

Ford made a huge announcement that they will be investing $1.1 billion in the Claycomo plant and adding an additional 1600 jobs. This is a direct result of last years Special Session where the legislature approved tax incentives for auto manufacturers in Missouri. I am thrilled by the announcement. This is exactly how we spur the economy through economic development. More than likely we will have a net positive increase in existing jobs and the subsequent addition to the tax base. There will be numerous ancillary product and service providers that will expand and hire people as well. We are fortunate to have Ford in our area along with all the great people that work there and live in the area.

Economic Development Bill

As I mentioned above, the House passed an economic development and job creation bill [SB8] this week. As of this writing the final House version of the bill is not available, but you can check this link for the version that came out of committee to the House floor and back at this link in the future to get the amended version.

For those of you (which there were a lot) who were concerned with the so called "China Hub/Aerotropolis" part of the bill, it was drastically reduced to only include the freight forwarding part of the bill which would be capped at $70 million, as opposed to the original price tag of $360 million. Although some might still argue with any type of subsidy towards this project, I am of the opinion that the reduced amount agreed to was a good thing for the overall bill.

Historic and Low Income credit caps were lowered (a good thing) and the sunsets were rejected. Although I usually support sunsets on these types of things, in this case, with the Senate the way it functions currently, to put a sunset on anything (whether it be good or bad) is a risky proposition. As one Senator can hold up something good even though a majority of the House and the Senate might approve of it. Therefore, we opted for a provision to require an up or down vote on the tax credits in four years, with an additional piece of legislation to follow to put a Constitutional measure on the ballot that would make it a requirement for the legislature to do the same. This is due to the fact that by law, the current legislature is not allowed to bind a future legislature in statute, thus the Constitutional measure would override that.

It is a perfect bill- no. However, I think we did some great things in many of the provisions to improve the business and job climate in Missouri. My hope is that the Senate will agree.

Liberty Community Christmas Tree

The Liberty Community Christmas Tree program helps families in Liberty who need assistance during the holiday season. The program provides families with gifts and food items for Christmas dinner.

If you would like to donate food or money; if you need help or you know someone who does, check out this link to find out more information.

Upcoming Local Events

Liberty Public Schools Events (Click link for more info.)
LHS Orchestra Pancake Breakfast and Basket Auction, Down Syndrome Walk, Trike-a-Thon, LNHS Charity Volleyball match, LNHS Orchestra 1st Gold and Bluegrass Festival

William Jewell College Homecoming October 7-9

Liberty Farmers Market Every Saturday through October

Liberty Symphony Orchestra- October 22
Tribute to composer John Williams

Check out your local High School sports schedules. Great Friday night football and other sports.
Liberty Public Schools, North Kansas City Schools

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