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Showing posts from November, 2007

Transportation Funding Looms as Major Issue for Lawmakers

Missouri lawmakers are mulling over the latest report from the director of the Missouri Department of Transportation. The director is required by state law to submit an annual report to the Missouri General Assembly each November.
Director Pete Rahn says Missouri has gone from having the third worst pavement on major roads to the ninth best in the nation, with 74 percent of the state’s major roads in good condition. MoDOT’s annual report finds Missouri recorded the biggest drop in traffic-related fatalities of any state last year, while noting an increase in customer satisfaction with the agency from 75 percent in 2005 to 79 percent in 2006.
Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee and co-chairs the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight, says MoDOT has done a lot of good things with the extra money the department received from Amendment Three, which voters approved in 2004.
“If you look at the work of MoDOT over the last three years since Amen…

Joint Committee on Tax Policy To Review Tax Credits And Property Taxes

The Joint Committee on Tax Policy will hold a public hearing Tuesday, November 13 in House Hearing Room 7 of the Capitol. The ten-member committee, evenly divided between Representatives and Senators, works to ensure Missouri’s taxes are simple, fair, neutral and transparent.
Committee member Brad Lager, R-Maryville, says a cornerstone of responsible government is making sure lawmakers are good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Lager says he does not believe in creating new government programs “just to hand out money,” and says the same philosophy should apply to tax credits. Lager says each tax credit approved by lawmakers is the same as creating a new government program that must be funded each year. However, he says unlike most government programs that are reviewed each year during the appropriations process, tax credits are only reviewed each six years.
Fellow committee member Joan Bray, D-St. Louis, says lawmakers are beginning to review the more than $500 million dollars in tax cr…

Interim Committee Holds Field Hearings on Deputy Sheriffs’ Compensations

Last September, lawmakers on the Senate Interim Committee on Funding for County Sheriffs Offices met in a packed hearing room at the State Capitol in Jefferson City before county law enforcement officers from around the state. They heard testimony on the problem of low pay for many deputies in county sheriff departments. The response was so large that committee members decided a series of field hearings was necessary to gather more information on the issue.
This week, the committee met in Southeast Missouri’s Wayne County, part of the district of committee member Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dexter). He says too many deputies have to work 50-60 hours a week as deputies and then take another part-time job just to make enough money for their families. Fellow committee member Sen. Ryan McKenna (D-Crystal City) says despite working the multiple jobs, many of those struggling deputies still have to go on food stamps and other public assistance.
Sen. McKenna says it’s really a matter of having the r…