Received from David Sater of the 68th District of Missouri
As full disclosure I must note that I support David Sater. I have found him to be honest, straight forward, and one of the few politicians in the region who has been willing to open communication with bloggers such as myself.
DAVID SATER – Serving the 68th District
As you may of read in the newspapers, the Governor called a Special Session several weeks ago. Unless you were on a committee that heard these bills, you did not have to be there until the bill was on the floor for a vote. The rules are that only the bills the Governor has requested can be discussed and voted on during a Special Session. No other subject matter can be open.
Bill number one pertained to the state employee pensions and I had no problem voting yes for this bill. All that was in it was that people hired after January 1st, 2011 can participate in the retirement program by contributing 4% of their salary into the pension program. Almost every business entity that I know has similar provisions of employee participation. This will save the state around 10-12 million dollars per year in the future.
The other legislation was on tax incentives for the Ford plant in Claycomo, Missouri and was not favorable to me. The state was going to use the money saved in the pension bill to pay for the tax incentives per year to keep the Ford plant in Missouri. The legislation called for 10 years of these incentives at 15 million per year. Number one, the figures did not add up and I am afraid we will have to take a few million dollars from other programs already financially drained. Second, we have healthcare programs that we are not fully funded and people are going without medical treatment. I am talking about the Medicaid population, especially the elderly and disabled. If we were going to do anything with the money from the pension program, let’s spend it to keep people out of nursing homes and emergency rooms. These are life and death programs. Budgeting is a matter of priority of importance. Thirdly, there are many businesses in Missouri that could use tax incentives to stay open. Picking and choosing one concern over another is never fair. I would be more in favor of using this money for all businesses in our state and use it in an even and fair manner. So, I voted against this bill but it passed anyway. I am only one vote in 163. I thought about speaking against it on the floor, but most people had already made up their minds and it was going to pass anyway.
In the Senate, a Senator has a right to filibuster, which is a stalling tactic to take up time, so that a vote on a bill does not happen. Senator Chuck Purgason spoke for over 10 hours hoping to defeat this bill. Senator Jack Goodman helped with this, but in the end the Senate voted to pass the bill and send it to the House, where it was passed.
Our next session will be in September which is the Veto Session. We will probably just meet and come home, which will be a waste of time and money.
The State of Missouri’s fiscal year ended on June 30th by setting a record. However, it is a record that we would not strive to every meet or exceed again. State net general revenue ended at a minus 9.1% ($6,774,323,630), the largest decline that anyone can remember in state history. What makes matters worse, the previous record was minus 6.9% set last year. The challenges for next year’s budget are substantial. This year’s budget contains 860 million dollars of one time Federal Budget Stabilization Funds (Federal Stimulus Money) which will not be available next year. That amount will have to be cut from the core budget next year of find a replacement source of income. I do not know of one.
I hope everyone is having a good summer. It looks like the heat of this summer is making up for the cool last summer. Stay safe and look out for your elderly neighbors who may not have a cooling system.