Our regular contribution From Missouri State Representative David Sater
Special session, when will it end? It could last until November 15th, 2011, but it should not. As I mentioned in a previous report, it is costing you around $25 thousand dollars a day for us to be in session.
Two weeks ago, the Senate and House passed two pieces of legislation. The Missouri Science and Reinvestment Act encourages investments in science and technology companies in Missouri. We repealed a provision of a new law that prohibits teachers from using sites such as Facebook to privately message students. The Legislature and the Governor thought this was a good idea, at the time, but freedom of speech was a concern. Our mission in this law was to keep our school children safe from teachers that acted badly. The Governor will sign both of these bills.
Last week we met for a few days to discuss an economic bill. We were in caucus last Wednesday to see if there was enough support for the bill. I try and keep in good contact with my senator, Jack Goodman, and three other senators in Southwest Missouri. They told me before caucus that our bill in the House was dead on arrival and they would not endorse it. In caucus, I mentioned that since the bill we were discussing would probably not go anywhere, it sure took away from some good crappie fishing. It got a laugh, but the point was made. House leadership is still insistent we pass the bill and send it to the Senate.
The key pieces of this bill are incentives to attract new businesses and jobs in Missouri. I still believe that government should not be in the business of creating jobs, the private sector does a much better job. Anyway, this bill would offer tax incentives to attract amateur sporting events in Missouri and encourage the creation of data storage centers. The bill would also create the Missouri Export Act, which creates incentives for exporting Missouri products – such as pork products. The bill would provide funding for job training and create a fund to both retain companies that are considering leaving Missouri and attract businesses that are looking for a new location. An amendment added to the bill on the House floor would reduce Missouri`s corporate income tax from 6.25 percent to 5.5 percent. The tax would be offset by savings generated by reforms to existing tax credit programs. We decreased the Historical Preservation Tax Credit by $28 million per year, decreased the RemediationTax Credit per year (Brownfield Redevelopment Program) by $17.5 million, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit by $32 million dollars. We also kept a no sunset condition, which means it continues without reauthorization, on the Historical and Low Income Tax Credits. We took off the sunset, which is usually 4 or 5 years, on the Food Pantry and Pregnancy Resource Tax Credits. In the bill, there was also a provision that the Legislature would review any tax credit program by September 1st of the calendar year prior to the sunset of the program to analyze the effectiveness of the program and to see if the money we are giving these programs is worthwhile.
I was able to get one amendment through on the House floor. There is a new tax credit program for the Development Disability Care Providers which was in this legislation. I noticed that it did not have a cap on the amount to be given out. I added an amendment to cap the tax credits $5 million dollars per year. According to my conversations with leadership, this was an omission and they welcomed the amendment.
As mentioned, probably all of this could of waited another three months for the regular session that starts the first of January. But this was the Governor’s call and by law we have to attend.
The Governor will be in Springfield at Missouri State University on October 14 for a ceremony that celebrates the start of a UMKC-Missouri State Pharmacy Program at Missouri State. They will be able to graduate 25 to 30 students from Missouri State with a degree in Pharmacy. This will help southwest Missouri in the shortage of pharmacists. I have been invited to attend because I placed the money in the budget for the program this year. I attempted it in 2010 and it did not stay, but this year there was enough support to keep it in the budget.
Hopefully this will give you an explanation of the legislative process. If you have any questions, call me at my home in Cassville (417/847-4661) or my Capitol office (573/751-1480). Thanks for letting me serve you.