Of the 163 members, 4 are new; having been elected during the special elections held in their respective districts on November 8th, 2011. Welcome Representative Chrissy Sommer of the 15th District out of St. Charles, Representative Judy Morgan of the 39th District out of Kansas City, Representative Brandon Ellington of the 41st District out of Kansas City, and Representative Tracy McCreery of the 83rd District out of St. Louis. As I begin my fourth year as Representative for the 121st District and watch as new Members join the ranks of the Missouri House of Representatives, I recall the humbling experience of walking onto the Floor of the Missouri House for the first time, of sitting at my desk for the first time, and of casting my first vote….. It is truly an honor to serve and I congratulate these new Members for achieving their goal to serve in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
During his final opening address, Speaker Steven Tilley, serving his last year as our Speaker, offered his vision of what the average citizen expects from their government and a plan, called the “Blueprint for Missouri,” to provide Missourians with the governance they expect and deserve. Under Speaker Tilley’s plan we will:
- Pass a balanced budget while not raiding the reserves of Institutions of Higher Learning
- Stay out of the taxpayer’s wallet (no raising taxes)
- Force state government to live within its means
- Place strict limits on the growth of government
- Fund Missouri Veterans Homes
- Pass legislation protecting our children from predators
- Provide an economic environment conducive to business expansion
- Protect Missouri employers from frivolous law suits
- Work tirelessly to provide the type of quality education every child deserves
Thursday, January 5, 2012
During this morning’s caucus meeting, we had the pleasure of being addressed by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. Of the many issues Sen. Blunt spoke about, one of them sticks out in my mind as valuable insight into properly addressing the continued economic struggle we face in Missouri, in the United States, and indeed, across the globe. In evaluating the recent financial disasters in Europe and Greece, it becomes clear one of the underlying issues is their governments have grown too large. As Senator Blunt clearly stated, “Government cannot get bigger than what the economy can support.” This is important insight at all levels of government; from your local municipality, to the federal level. We do not want the financial problems associated with big government in the U.S., or in Missouri. “Fiscal Responsibility” and “Local Control” are two fundamentals of governance I strongly support and with the help of strong leadership at the state and federal levels, these core principles will help guide the U.S., Missouri, and Johnson County, toward a brighter and more prosperous future.
Week of January 9th – Prelude to State of State Address
On Tuesday January 17th, 2012, Governor Jay Nixon will deliver his annual State of the State address. Governor Nixon is supposed to introduce possible tax increases to keep income in line with spending. With the slow rebound, we need a straightforward budget from the Governor which does not include burdening the citizens of Missouri with any further tax increases.
Governor Nixon is also supposed to introduce business incentives to accelerate job growth in the State, the exact same, in fact, introduced and implemented last year. There is no doubt the State’s existing business incentives for job creation have been a failure. Governor Nixon and his economic development officials have failed to create the amount of jobs they said they were going to create this time last year. Out of the 23,145 jobs the Nixon Administration said were going to be created, only 5,873 have actually been fashioned.
I will continue to support incentives for job growth and small businesses such as HB 45, which I sponsored and passed last year, to provide tax incentives to our small businesses who hire additional workers. We must continue to work together and be innovative in maintaining jobs in our State and attracting new ones.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
During our budget committee meeting on Wednesday, we discussed a constitutional amendment prohibiting appropriations in any fiscal year from exceeding the total state general revenue appropriations from the previous year by more than the appropriations growth limit. This basically means any excess amount of State generated revenue not spent will be appropriated logically, instead of just being spent as overflow.
This method would work by the following:
- General Revenue increases < 1.5% would be used for general appropriations.
- General Revenue surplus between 1.5% and 2.5% will be used to pay down Missouri debt.
- Any surpluses exceeding 2.5% of the general revenue mark will be split into two categories, Cash Operating Reserve (67%) and a Budget Reserve fund (33%). These two funds would help provide stability in budget years that have declining state revenue.
LegislationThis week the house has been busy with first and second readings of house bills, with committee meetings, and with a barrage of bills awaiting co-sponsorship. As we progress into third readings, I will present more detailed information about specific bills of interest.
Redistricting NewsMany of you have voiced concern over the new district lines and which district you may end up in beginning with the 2012 elections. As you know, I will be running for office in the newly formed 54th District. The following link should provide you with a detailed and interactive map to determine your new district: http://oa.mo.gov/bp/redistricting/newlegislativedistricts/
Visiting the CapitolI would like to extend a special thanks to Janet West for her visit to my office on January 4th, 2012. Anytime you find yourself near your Missouri State Capitol (201 West Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65101) please feel free to visit. Our state boasts one of the most beautiful Capitol buildings in the nation and you are always welcome.
Ways to Keep in Contact
I consider communication with my constituents a high priority. My weekly Monday morning chat at 8:45 a.m. with Woody at KOKO Radio on AM 1450 is one of the best ways I’ve found for you to literally “hear” from me. During session or interim, tune in every Monday morning at 8:45 to hear the latest concerning District 121.
Please share this report with anyone you feel would be interested in this information. It is genuinely a privilege to serve as your state representative.