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02 February 2012

Purgason: Long Road Ahead For 2012 Session

The 2012 legislative session is now underway. It appears that we have a long, hard road ahead of us this year.

Issues up for discussion this year will include jobs, the budget, and education. Other topics will probably include tax credit reform, workers’ choice legislation, moving toward a fairer way to tax our citizens, and I’m sure a second nuclear plant will be brought up again this year.

We need to find good ways to help create and grow new small businesses in our state. By decreasing regulations and allowing these businesses to keep more of their own money so they can hire new workers, we can help turn the economy around. When we limit the size of government and limit its role in our lives we open the door for a revitalized economy with more new jobs.

Our state faces a budget shortfall of approximately $500 million. If you have followed my columns over the years, you will recall that I have been saying for a long time that we simply have to cut back and spend within our means. The outlook is bleak this year. It will be an agonizing process to produce a balanced budget. Many difficult decisions will be made and many will be disappointed with the outcome.

Tax credit reform will be a big issue again this year. We need to have more oversight and review of these. As long as we keep taking millions and millions of dollars right off the top of our budget, we have no hope of curing the problems of funding for education and assistance to our needy.

Funding education will be a challenge this year. We owe it to our future generations to give them the best education we can afford. It appears that some changes will need to be made to the foundation formula in order to keep funding on a relatively equitable level.

It is vital that we give our children an adequate education. Businesses and industries looking to move to our state need to know that the children of their employees have access to a quality education. This helps to bring more jobs and prosperity.

I am hopeful that your General Assembly will renew its effort to adopt policies that promote smaller government with less regulation and that it has the good sense to keep spending under control. I look forward to renewing our efforts to make Missouri a safe place for our children, fund our children’s education, provide help for our most vulnerable citizens, protect our property rights, and work to reform our state’s tax policy.

As always, I welcome your comments and opinions. You may contact me at: Missouri Senate, 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 416, Jefferson City, MO 65101; my telephone number is 573-751-1882 or you may email me at chuck{dot}purgason{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov.

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