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Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2016

January 25, 2012

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012, at 1:37 PM

On Tuesday evening, January 17th, Governor Nixon, the Missouri State Supreme Court Judges, statewide elected officials, the Missouri Senate and Missouri House welcomed the Governor for his annual State of the State Address. The theme of the address was "Missouri Moving Forward." Governor Nixon addressed the promise of not increasing taxes, more cuts to government spending by reducing the payroll, and adding jobs to Missouri. Unfortunately these promises will lead to shortfalls elsewhere. The Governor targeted higher education, proposing cuts in their budget of nearly 13%. There is major concern that these cuts could lead to universities raising their tuitions significantly. Nixon encouraged the universities to "cut overhead and administrative costs and to run smarter, more efficient operations."

On Wednesday, January 18, Chief Justice Richard Teitelman was welcomed into the Chamber for the 39th State of the Judiciary. He urged lawmakers to pass measures to reduce the number of people in prison for parole and probation violations. These changes could save the state $16.6 million over five years and reduce the state prison population by two percent. The legislature has been studiously reviewing such proposals relating to non-violent offenders only, since late last year.

HCS HJR 43, the Taxpayer Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-136), places wise limits on state appropriations. I am proud of the fact that this extremely responsible measure was the first substantive bill considered and passed by the Missouri House this year. This bill prohibits appropriations in any fiscal year from exceeding the total state general revenue appropriations for the current fiscal year that exceeds the level for Fiscal Year 2008. The appropriations growth limit is the percentage that is greater than zero for the sum of the annual rate of inflation and the annual percentage change in Missouri's population. This bill will limit the growth of government spending, provide long-term fiscal planning and rainy day funds, help balance the economic highs and lows, protect programs and funding, reduce income tax rates, and create a stronger business environment. Unlike Colorado's TABOR, adjustments have been made in the bill to prevent the "ratchet-back" effort. This bill was perfected and third read in the House today with an overwhelming, bipartisan majority, and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The next pillar, The Missouri Works Plan, is to accelerate investment in high-growth industries like science and technology. With more than 1,000 agribusiness, life science and biotech companies, Missouri is already home to some of the brightest minds and innovators in the world. With the passage last year of the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, we are poised for rapid progress.

The plan will also custom tailor a job-creation incentive for small-business owners in rural communities. Rural communities are a proud part of Missouri's past. They're also a vital part of Missouri's future - especially when it comes to agriculture. Missouri farmers feed, fuel and clothe the world. And with 108,000 farms generating more than $12 billion annually, agriculture is truly the backbone of Missouri's economy. We want to keep Missouri agriculture growing, and our rural way of life strong.

In 2011 mother nature played a large role in the lives of many Missourians. The loss of lives, homes and jobs led to a shortfall in the economy. That being said, the resolve of the citizens of Missouri, by the GRACE OF GOD, will return stronger in the future.

As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-3629. You can also email me at Kent.Hampton@house.mo.gov. I look forward to hearing from you.

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