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26 January 2012

Kelley: Taxpayers Shafted By Culture Of Entitlements

Earlier this month Governor Nixon released his budget for the coming fiscal year. As expected, because of the struggling economy, there were areas where spending will be reduced from last year. Even so, it is likely that the state budget will again exceed $20 million. Despite this large amount of taxpayer dollars, the hand wringing has already begun. Recipients of taxpayer dollars are already crying foul and making dire predictions of the sky falling.

An editorial in one of the state’s largest newspapers was a perfect example of how the culture of entitlements has imbedded itself into our society. The editorial opined the state budget this year was a matter of who would get shafted and by how much. The taxpayers of this state should be outraged. If anyone has the right to say they have been shafted, it is them.

By its very name, taxpayer monies are distributed through the appropriations process. Make no mistake about it, every single dollar appropriated to a recipient came from a taxpayer. Whether the money comes from Missouri’s General Revenue fund or the Federal Government, it came from the pocket of a taxpayer. Now, instead of recognizing this and appreciating the fact someone worked hard for that money, recipients of the money complain if they don’t get as much as they think they should have.

Also dominating the news early this session was the redistricting process which has been thrown into chaos. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled the Senate map was unconstitutional and threw it out completely. In addition, they sent the Congressional map back to a lower court with instructions it be further reviewed. Finally, a lawsuit was filed challenging the House map.

There is a chance the House map will stand as is, but the Senate map must be redrawn. A commission made up of citizens nominated by the political parties and appointed by the governor is charged with drawing these maps. The Congressional map is drawn by the State Legislature. While Senators are not involved in drawing the Senate maps it does create a large amount of uncertainty for those facing elections. With candidate filing set to open February 28, nobody knows in which district they will be running. This scenario is actually more difficult for challengers as they are not as well known and tend to be at a disadvantage when it comes to fundraising. Most everyone agrees this is new and uncharted territory for the legislature. This issue is sure to dominate discussions as the February 28 date looms closer with each day.

Please contact me with any suggestions that you may have for Missouri legislation. Also, if you should experience problems in contacting or resolving an issue with a Missouri state agency, please feel free to call my Capitol office at (573) 751-2165 or email at mike{dot}kelley{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov. Thank you for the honor to serve as your Representative in the Missouri House of Representatives. Until my next update, I am, and remain, in your service.

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