Because our Governor "will not rule out the possibility of running for President", he is doing everything in his power to move to the political left from his traditional moderate position. Because of this shift, we are seeing him take unreasonable positions on the budget, the funding for the Fulton Hospital, tax initiatives, and education issues. The Governor's proposed budget provides for robbing dollars from next year's General Revenues to pay for potential shortfalls this year. All these things are expected to work themselves out by the end of session, but it sure lights up the phone lines! We have budgeted more money for Education than EVER before! We have included funding proposals for the Foundation Formula in the tax relief bill that moved out of the House this week. Education funding is still the primary concern of the General Assembly. The House Appropriations Committee included a $100 million dollar increase to K-12 education. Having said that, I find it a bit irresponsible to continue increasing funding to school districts that are getting worse by the day. Our school districts in Southwest Missouri are receiving approximately one third of the money per student that the failing districts in St Louis and Kansas City are allocated. Some of those districts are getting $20,000 per student and are still performing miserably. We have bills on the calendar that will address the problems of those failing districts, but I think it's going to take something other than more money to fix the problems.
House Bill 1253 and 1297 were passed last week and provide for gradually lowering the percentage of business income that is taxed and reducing Missouri's corporate tax rate while protecting state revenues against sharp declines. Annual cuts will not take place if the state takes in less revenue than the previous year.This measure will provide incentive for business and industry as well as individual taxpayers while insuring that education and social programs are protected from loss of revenue.
House Joint Resolution 56 proposes a constitutional amendment that, if approved by voters, would specify that parents have exclusive control over the care and upbringing of their minor children. This authority would extend to decisions about the child's education, healthcare, discipline, and religious instruction. By enshrining parents' natural rights in the Missouri Constitution, we guarantee that they cannot be altered or diminished without a vote of the people. The bill also goes to great lengths to protect the health and safety of our children by stipulating that parents can lose their rights if they endanger or mistreat their children. This bill will be debated and amendments will probably be offered but I think it is a really good start on some much needed legislation.
The next few weeks will be really hectic with some of the more exciting legislation coming up. I'll keep you posted as it develops. Until then, I am and remain in your service.