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21 November 2011

Tim Jones: Thanksgiving Memoir, Legislative Review of Tax Credits, Super Hornet

At right: Memories: Celebration at Busch Stadium after the Cardinals won their 11th World Series victory on Friday, October 28, 2011!

Winter’s stealthy and frosty hand slowly drifts across still country meadows and glistens on rooftops in huddled city blocks as furnaces chug forth white steam in anticipation of coming frozen morns. The holiday season has sprung upon us once again as thoughts of the 2012 Legislative Session already appear in our minds reminding us of challenges and opportunities that lie ahead…

Thanksgiving: A Memoir

It is common knowledge that the American celebration of “Thanksgiving” had its origin in 1621 as the Pilgrims invited the neighboring Indian tribes to join them in a feast of gratitude for God’s blessings. There is no evidence, however, that they actually celebrated this on the fourth Thursday in November or that it lasted only one day, or that they played a mean game of touch football after dinner. In 1789, President George Washington proclaimed November 26th as a national day of thanksgiving through a presidential proclamation. The idea of a permanent, national celebration each November came 242 years after the first Pilgrim-Indian festival in the early 17th century. During the Civil War, many Americans clamored for a national religious holiday. One of the most vocal was Sarah Josepha Hale who wrote a letter on September 28, 1863 to President Abraham Lincoln encouraging him to “have the day of our annual Thanksgiving made a national and fixed Union Festival.” Five days later Lincoln issued the “Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863.” In his proclamation, Lincoln set apart the “last Thursday of November” as “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” On December 26, 1941, Congress passed a law making the fourth Thursday of November the one, official, national day.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to my family, friends, co-workers and constituents. Thanksgiving is not just a holiday, it should be a lifestyle. Often we do not take the time to consider the richness of all the blessings in our lives—both big and small. They are lost in the hustle of our day-to-day activities. Let us all take time this Thanksgiving Day to stop, take stock and express our gratitude to the One who pours out those blessings upon our lives every day.

2011 Extraordinary Special Session

The last actions of the Missouri House of Representatives during the 2011 Extraordinary Session took place on October 20, 2011. The 2011 Extraordinary Special Session concluded on November 5th. By Missouri Constitution, extraordinary sessions can run as long as 60 days. The 60 day time period allotted for the Special Session came to its conclusion on November 5th. House and Senate members will return to the State Capitol on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 for the beginning of the 2012 Legislative Session.

HJR 1—Legislative Review of Tax Credits

The Missouri House worked diligently during the Special Session to pass an economic development package to assist businesses and employers in having the necessary tools and environment in which to create jobs. On October 20th, the House took another step toward this goal by passing HJR 1 with a large, overwhelming bipartisan vote. HJR 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment requiring the General Assembly to review all tax credit programs every four years. It would require the Majority Floor Leaders of the House and Senate to propose a separate bill or concurrent resolution ending each individual tax credit program. Each bill or resolution is required to quickly move through the legislative process to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote.

All tax credit programs should be reviewed periodically to make sure they work as designed. The programs should deserve an up or down vote by the General Assembly and not be held hostage by any one legislator with a personal or political agenda. HJR 1 ensures that each program lives or dies on its own merit by requiring the House and Senate to vote on each program with a recorded vote by the fiftieth legislative day. We are committed to providing communities with the tools necessary to help us grow as a state while making sure each program has merit. HJR 1 provides us with a review process that ensures each tax credit program works as it is designed without giving a single legislator the ability to kill a vital development tool.

HR 4672—Super Hornet Aircraft

The fundamental role of government is the protection of its people from threats both foreign and domestic. The federal government fulfills this role through a vast military structure including our men and women in uniform and a variety of private contractors that provide our troops with the tools needed to carry out their mission. Missouri is the proud home of the Boeing company which manufactures the F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet fighter plane, a key component to our national defense. On October 20th, the Missouri House urged Congress to continue funding the Super Hornet by passing HR 4672 in an overwhelming vote.

Boeing is one of the most prolific defense contractors in the nation and they provide a huge economic boost to Missouri’s economy. The company employs 15,000 people in the St. Louis area and is responsible for the retirement income of 24,000 former employees. Boeing further boosts our economy by purchasing $764 million in materials from 969 subcontractors across the state. The Super Hornet is a very versatile aircraft and is vital to our nation’s continued air superiority. It is the most capable, multi-role fighter in production today. It can reach speeds of Mach 1.8, and it utilizes various systems to escape detection by the enemy. It has a 20 mm gun mounted in the nose of the craft and includes weapons stations on the wings and fuselage. Please join me in urging Congress to continue the production and full funding of this vital aircraft.

Special Local Announcements

St. Louis Chase Homeownership Center may be able to help customers lower their monthly mortgage payment or interest rate and avoid foreclosure. They provide one-on-one meetings with a Chase Mortgage Counselor, extended hours of operation including evenings and Saturdays, and assistance for Spanish-speaking customers. Any Chase customer in need of mortgage assistance may call to make an appointment at 314.729.0421 or stop by the center at 9717 Landmark Parkway Drive, Suite 101, St. Louis, Missouri 63127. Their hours of operation are: Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Friday-9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

The City of Eureka is again participating in the 2011 Home Improvement Program with its Community Development Block Grant funds which are administered by St. Louis County. The purpose of this program is to provide financial assistance to low/moderate income homeowners with home repairs which will correct code violations and safety hazards. For additional information, please contact Rose Loehr, City of Eureka at 314.615.4025.

The City of Eureka also recently entered into an agreement with St. Louis County to allow its residents to participate in a Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program. This program will allow the City to make low interest rate loans available to eligible residential property owners for upgrades that improve comfort and reduce energy costs in their homes. For additional information, please contact Anne Klein at aklein{at}st{dot}louisco{dot}com or by telephone at 314.615.7017.

News & Notes

Thank you for reading this Interim Report. If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving this report, please click the “Capitol Report Signup” button on my member home page at and enter the appropriate information. If you happen to see me in and around the District this fall and winter, please feel free to introduce yourself and say hello! I have been very busy traveling all over the State and speaking to various groups about our many substantive legislative accomplishments. If you would like for me to speak to your group or community, please contact Jody at our office at 573.751.0562, and we will be happy to accommodate you.

Finally, if we can ever be of any assistance to you at your State Capitol during the coming months even while we are in the Interim Session, please do not hesitate to contact us at: 573.751.0562 or you can reach my primary assistant, Jody, at: jody{dot}williams{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov. If you ever find yourself in or around Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit the Majority Leader’s Office in Room 302 and Jody will be happy to meet and greet you!

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