House Begins 2012 Legislative Session
My colleagues and I returned to Jefferson City Wednesday January 5th for the start of the 2012 legislative session. It’s hard to believe the interim has moved by so quickly, but we’re ready to have a productive session that will address some of the key issues currently faced by our state. Many of those issues were addressed by House Speaker Tilley in his opening address. During the speech he outlined what he calls his Blueprint for Missouri. I have briefly mentioned the blueprint in a previous Capitol Report and will do my best to flesh out more of the details in future reports. In general, the Speaker’s blueprint is focused on crafting a balanced budget without increasing taxes, improving the state’s business climate, creating a better system of education and protecting the values important to Missouri families. We know the people of Missouri expect and deserve a government that stays out of their pockets, lives within its means and respects and protects the values shared by families all across the state. The people also deserve a government that does all it can to create a climate that will allow our economy to flourish and that works to make our schools some of the best in the country. This session we will follow the Speaker’s blueprint in an effort to achieve these goals.
Budget Deficit Looms Large as Session Opens
While the new session brings with it the hope for accomplishing many of the policy objectives we believe will benefit the people of Missouri, it also brings with it the reality of yet another tough budget year. As we look for ways to fund critical programs and to keep our schools funded at a level that allows our young people to excel, we realize it will be a real challenge as budget forecasts call for a budget deficit of anywhere from $425 million to $500 million. That deficit is largely a product of federal stimulus dollars no longer being available to help balance the budget. It will make for a challenging budget process this year, but one thing you can be assured of is that we will not raise your taxes in order to balance the budget. We have been firmly against increasing the tax burden on Missouri families and that no-tax-hike approach will continue this year. Instead, we will tighten our belts and live within our means just as Missourians do when times are tough. Yes, it will be difficult, but we will work together to fund our priorities and eliminate any spending that is not absolutely necessary. We will learn more about the budget situation in a few weeks when the governor delivers his state of the state address to outline his budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
In the District
On Saturday, December 31, 2011, I presented a House resolution to Walt Huber. Walt retired from Don Wessel Honda after thirty six years of service. At the time Walt joined Don Wessel sales staff, the business was known as Don Wessel Oldsmobile and was located on Saint Louis Street in Springfield.
I look forward to hearing from you, and if you will be in Jefferson City, please stop by my office. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.