At the Missouri Capitol, Governor Parson has just finished signing into law the bills that passed the House and Senate, but he did veto a couple of proposals we had approved.  We will have a veto session in September as well as a special session called by the Governor (probably held back to back).  I’ll talk about those things later, but first, I want to highlight two committee hearings that are starting this summer in Jefferson City.
An important interim committee to which I have been assiged is the Interim Committee on Veterans Mental Health and Suicide.  We will have our second hearing later this month.  Tragically, Missouri has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country among our retired veterans.  The goal is to try and figure out the best ways the committee can help.  Our veterans stood for us and earned in return both our highest respect and our most committed support.
We are also starting meetings with an interim committee on the Missouri House operating rules.  I was appointed chair of this group by our incoming House Floor Leader Dean Plocher.  Our goal is to improve the efficiency and transparency of the Missouri House.  This is one of Dean’s top priorities for the coming year.  I’ve been meeting this summer with House leadership to brainstorm possible changes to the operating rules, and we will be meeting with the rest of our committee later this month.
One of the most important things that we will also be working on in the upcoming veto/special session is a tax cut for all Missouri taxpayers.  Governor Parson disagreed with the plan the House and Senate approved this past spring, and vetoed that bill.  In special session, he is proposing another plan for a comprehensive tax cut.  
Right now, we have a surplus of funds in our state treasury.  Unlike many states, Missouri’s economy has remained strong throughout the pandemic.  In addition, all states have been receiving unprecedented amounts of monies (handouts) from the federal government. It’s higly unlikely, however, that federal deficit spending can continue at such alarming rates.  The federal handouts have to slow at some point, and I don’t think it’s smart to just spend surplus dollars by creating more and more programs when the federal bailouts will at some point end.
Being fiscally conservative, it makes more sense to me to return surplus tax dollars back to taxpayers.  A significant tax cut is critically important to many Missourians right now, and I hope and pray that the big egos in the House and Senate don’t muck it up--insisting in special session that their plan (their bill) is the only plan.  Inflation (especially the cost of food and energy) continues to cut deeply into the pocketbook of Missourians.  It’s important to all of us to quickly get a tax break passed.
The Governor also vetoed what is commonly called this year’s “agriculture or ag bill”.   Although the Governor continues to be in favor of most of that bill, he disagreed with part of it.  We will also be fine-tuning the “ag bill” in special session. 
One of the provisions that the Governor liked and will stay in the revised “ag bill” is a provision that I worked on and helped draft.  For decades, Missouri law has exempted farm equipment (just like manufacturing equipment) from sales tax.  The idea is that it is unfair for the state to charge sales tax at the production stage of food and other goods and then to tax again at final sale to the consumer, which I consider to be double-dipping on sales tax.   
For some strange reason last year, auditors with the Missouri Department of Revenue thought up a legal loophole to unjustly collect more sales taxes on farmers that ultimately would be passed on to consumers in the form of even higher prices at the store.  With the help of Senator Karla Eslinger, we were able to stop those over eager auditors from collecting more tax, and when finally passed and signed by the Governor, this new language will slam shut any other legal loophole, better protecting both farmers and consumers. 
Wrapping up for now, it is my ongoing honor to serve as your representative and to speak for your commonsense values.  If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet locally or at the Capitol, please call my office at 573-751-1455, or email my office at
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Howell County News

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