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16 January 2012

Burlison: Productive Session Underway

January 4th marked the beginning of the 2nd Regular Session of the 97th General
Assembly of the State of Missouri. Although the House has only been in session for one full week, Republicans have set high expectations for the year by introducing a comprehensive Blueprint for Missouri. At the core of this legislative framework is my strong conviction that individual Missourians are the key to moving our State forward. By simply shifting power from government bureaucrats to individual citizens, we will create a better, more prosperous Missouri. Here are some encouraging details on the progress we made last week:

Protecting Our Taxpayers

As our State continues to experience widespread economic turmoil, revenue for 2012 has fallen short of government expectations. Although there is growing pressure to make up for this loss by raising taxes, I am working to protect hardworking Missourians by implementing commonsense budget reforms. Unlike the short-sighted plans that raise taxes on families and businesses, my Taxpayer Protection Bill [HJR43] balances the State budget by saving excess revenue during times of prosperity. Rather than taking more money from taxpayers, it's time for our State Government to take a lesson from Missouri's families and businesses: no more short-sighted, one-year budgeting!

At right: David and Reagan Day met with me on the first day of the 2nd Regular Session. I always enjoy speaking with constituents!

Bringing Jobs to Our State

With Missouri's unemployment rate hovering around an atrocious 8%, it's crucial that we reform the laws that continue to suppress economic prosperity. We know that unemployed Missourians are eager to return to the workforce to provide for their families' needs, so Republicans are working on several bills that will bring jobs to the State by lowering the cost of employing Missourians. Next week, I will introduce a bill that gives Missourians more choice regarding unionization. By acknowledging Missourians' right to work outside of a union, we will begin to unleash the entrepreneurial forces required to bring jobs to our State.

Improving Our Schools

My family has been blessed with the great education that characterizes our schools in Springfield; unfortunately, many families in our State are not afforded the same opportunity. The startling number of schools losing State accreditation has created an education crisis for thousands of Missouri families. While it is important to preserve our excellent schools in Springfield, we must do something to help families avoid the nightmare of sending their children to failing schools. Republican leaders began drafting a bill to assist students in unaccredited schools last year, while officials in Kansas City were bracing for the fallout of a local school district losing accreditation. The bill protects children from failing schools by empowering families to send their kids to accredited districts. I am proud to protect children from a substandard education by creating choices for families in failing school districts.

Defending Our Values

Fair elections are the foundation of healthy governance. Constituents' interests are only represented when politicians are held accountable on Election Day. To strengthen electoral accountability, House Republicans introduced H.B. 1104, a bill that protects Missouri from election fraud by requiring voters to present a government-issued photo I.D. before entering the ballot box. I sincerely hope that Governor Nixon will consider this bill on its own merits when it reaches his desk; though he vetoed a similar bill last session, the current version takes strong precautions to prevent voter disenfranchisement. Regardless of the Governor's final decision, voters will have the opportunity to enshrine these election protections in the State Constitution by passing the Voter ID Amendment in November.

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