The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


May 28, 2013

Other Views: Judging by motto

— The start of every legislative session is similar to the start of every baseball season — hope springs eternal. But by the end of the session, there is usually a sense of relief that the whole affair is over.

That was the case again this year.

The session, which began in January with a Republican promise of a “Triple E” agenda of economic development, energy policy and education, ended with Democrats describing it as a triple dose of extremism.

A few meaningful bills passed, many more failed and there were even more missed opportunities by our state legislators, especially with respect to their top goals. In short, it was a fairly typical legislative session.

But was the session a success? That depends on who is doing the scoring. To be sure, Republican legislators served up the obligatory accolades calling it a success and “historic” while Democrats criticized it as “an abject failure.”

One way we like to measure the session is by judging it against the state’s motto, “The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.”

They honored the motto with respect to a few issues, including finally passing legislation to fix the state’s bankrupt Second Injury Fund. The 70-year-old fund that covers workers with pre-existing injuries has been insolvent for a number of years with unpaid claims of more than $28 million to more than 1,000 injured workers. Lawmakers deserve credit for getting this done.

Republicans are also claiming credit for passing the first corporate and personal income tax cut in over 90 years. The new tax law would make some major changes to the state code over the next decade and is projected to reduce state revenues by about $700 million annually when it is fully phased in.

The Legislature should have taken this opportunity to overhaul the system for the better by simply flattening the brackets and modernizing the tax code.

It may not matter. Gov. Jay Nixon has signaled he may veto the legislation.

If the cuts do indeed result in devastating cuts to schools, public safety, parks, and other services throughout the state as critics project, then we would argue the welfare of the people has not been served.

The Legislature missed another opportunity to serve the welfare of the people when it failed to pass a transportation bill that would put a 1-cent transportation tax on the ballot for Missouri voters to decide.

But the biggest missed opportunity this past session was the Legislature’s failure to pass a Medicaid expansion bill.

Political ideology trumped pragmatism in both the transportation tax and Medicaid expansion failures. Both would have created jobs and stimulated the economy. The Medicaid expansion would have added about 300,000 more Missourians to the rolls.

The Washington Missourian

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  • Other Views Other Views: Eroding court’s authority

    While Kansans were focused on the twists and turns of school finance this past week, lawmakers made an unnecessary and historic change in how the state’s district courts operate, coercively tying the reforms to badly needed funding.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Travesty

    What a travesty that a terrific young man from Spain is on the verge of deportation even though he has proven his worth in America (Globe, April 13).

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: Astonishing transformation

    The transformation of the Republican Party in the last decade is astonishing.

    April 18, 2014

  • Your View: The changing view

    It is heartbreaking to hear the decades old trees (which border on South Pennsylvania in Webb City) cracking and being bulldozed down.

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our View: Safe and sound

    Of the 7,500 Joplin and Duenweg homes hit by the 2011 EF-5 tornado, fewer than 20 percent of them had basements.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Funding for state’s roads

    Missouri is finding there is no good alternative to growing the economy, adding new well-paying jobs and expanding the tax base.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Government without apology or explanation

    Americans feel closest to their Uncle Sam at this time of year as he extends his hand for his “fair share” to fund his numerous endeavors.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Step aside

    The people of Joplin made it clear they wanted change at City Hall with their decisive votes to replace two council members.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Serious drawbacks

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) lays out clearly and persuasively the serious drawbacks with so-called right-to-work legislation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Your View: Free choice

    Joan Banks’ guest column (Globe, April 13) regarding right-to-work seems to assume that if workers are given the choice of joining a union, they won’t join.

    April 16, 2014

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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