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20 January 2012

Korman: Committee Meets On I-70 Tolls, Taxpayer Protection Act

The MO General Assembly has completed the third week of session.

In this Capitol Report I will highlight the hearing on I-70, the Governor’s State of the State, the State of the Judiciary Address and the passage of HJR 43, the Taxpayer Protection Act, in the House of Representatives.

The Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight held a forum to discuss I-70. Director Kevin Keith of the Missouri Department of Transportation explained that I-70 is sixty years old and traffic has increased more than was anticipated as well as truck weights are higher than in the early years. I-70 will need some major structural improvements in the next 10 to 15 years and there is much concern on how it will be funded. There was excellent testimony presented by individuals and organizations. I testified on behalf of the people of Warren and Montgomery counties, explaining to the committee the importance of I-70. The clear message is that we are a long way from finding a solution and the discussion must continue.

Tuesday evening, Governor Nixon presented his “State of the State” address to the Missouri legislators. In his address, he included his budget proposal, his plan for economic growth and a hold on taxes. I was glad to hear that the Governor, like Republicans in the House, is committed to balancing the budget while holding the line on taxes. Raising your taxes in an already weak economy would further hamper economic growth and lead to more job losses, and I believe this is the last thing we need.

One point of the Governor’s strategy for economic growth is built on making government “smaller, smarter and more efficient.” This was our approach last year, and we plan to continue shrinking and limiting the size and scope of government this session.

We have led on this issue by passing the Taxpayer Protection Act [HJR43] out of the House this week. This legislation limits growth in the state budget by tying any budgetary increase to the rate of inflation plus population growth. This will ease any pressure the budget encounters during down times by saving money when economic times are good. I feel the current bill is reasonable, not too restrictive for the State to function yet not allowing bureaucracy to run wild.

On Wednesday, Chief Justice Richard B. (Rick) Teitelman delivered the 39th State of the Judiciary address. In his address he welcomed the newest member, Judge George Draper III, and then introduced the other members of the court. He recognized former clerk, Tom Simon, who retired after four decades with the Supreme Court of Missouri.

A bipartisan effort to improve criminal justice in Missouri has been underway and legislation will soon be introduced. Chief Justice Teitelman supports efforts to help make sentencing practices more cost-effective, helping Missouri to become both tough and smart on crime.

I am happy to be here serving the constituents of Montgomery and Warren counties. Please feel free to stop by or contact your 99th District office at:

201 West Capitol Avenue
Room 114C
Jefferson City, MO 65101

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