Saving Taxpayer Dollars
Saving taxpayer money continues to be a priority for me, and this week I am filing four bills to further this goal. The first three, with some modifications, were measures I filed last year, and I will continue to work to get them passed.
ElectionsThe first bill [SB569] seeks to remove the February and June dates on which an election can be held. Currently, there are five calendar dates that can be used for an election. It costs taxpayer dollars to conduct elections. Often, these dates feature a single election issue that could be easily filed on another election date within two months preceding or following February or June, when other issues may be under consideration. Last year, I was able to get legislation passed that eliminated the June date; however, the bill was vetoed by the governor.
Taxpayer RefundsThis measure [SJR38] proposes a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would require refunds to taxpayers in any fiscal year in which total state revenues increase over the preceding fiscal year’s total state revenue by 7.5 percent or more. In such a case, 25 percent of the excess would be returned to those who pay their income tax.
When the economy recovers and the state starts to pull in better revenue, we need to have controls in place to keep the government from going out and spending all the new revenue. Some of it needs to go back into the pockets of taxpayers rather than to building bigger, more costly government.
Single License Plate IssuanceSimply removing the requirement for a second license plate on motor vehicles would save the state more than $1 million a year. Property-carrying commercial motor vehicle applicants will be eligible to request a second plate. [SB570]
Transparency on Tax CreditsThis bill [SB571], if passed, would require that tax credit recipients to file an annual report with the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) documenting all contributions and expenditures made to or on behalf of all committees. This information must go on a separate page on the MEC website. In order to maintain accountability for how tax credits are distributed, we must have transparency on who received tax credits, as well as who received political contributions from the recipients.
As always, you can also go to my Senate web page, www.senate.mo.gov/kraus, hover over “Legislation,” click on “Sponsored Bills,” to read, in entirety, each piece of legislation that I file. I welcome any comments from you.
Revised Map Issued for Senate District 8
After the release of my Capitol Report last Wednesday, it was most surprising to me when the Appellate Apportionment Commission filed a second state Senate redistricting plan and map that completely revised District 8. This new map shows the district extending into Lafayette County. There is some question as to whether the courts have the authority to issue yet another map. As the situation becomes more final, I’ll provide more information in this report. An outline of the latest district map can be found at Senate District 8.
We received a few questions from readers that address some general issues, regardless of the final map. I thought the information would be useful to all of my readers. Voters asked what they needed to do, as well as who they would be voting for in the next election. No additional paperwork will be required from voters for 2012 elections. Sometime after April, the Jackson County Election Board will mail voters a new and updated voter ID card, which will contain information on districts in which the voter resides. On Election Day, the ballot that voters receive will name those candidates for office in their new district(s), so voters will be deciding who represents them in their new districts. However, technically, current representation will still be in place until the newly elected official assumes office in 2013.
My focus during this time will continue to be on the current District 8 and those who I represent. My office stands ready to assist residents of District 8 in whatever way we can.