The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 29, 2012

Our View: Taxpayers deserve better

The Joplin Globe

— Legislators who fail to work together to fix problems in their state may not reach a compromise, but they do compromise their state and the taxpayers.

That said, we’re glad to get this past Missouri legislative session — one with limited accomplishments — behind us.

Telling were remarks made last week by local legislators as they discussed the end of the session with Globe reporter Susan Redden.

“We stopped a lot of bad bills,” said Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar.

OK, so there was that. And, there are times when the best vote is a ‘no’ vote.

Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, was also frustrated and pointed to the Senate as the problem.

“There were too many people who forgot how to negotiate and work to compromise. But it will be different next year,” Richard said, referencing turnover as a result of term limits.

Apparently it was so bad that a bipartisan group of senators, including Richard, met early in May to discuss overthrowing Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer in order to end an impasse over the state budget.

Mayer, according to reporting by The Columbia Tribune, used his power over Senate communication to refuse a House message that it had passed a bill with language essential to making spending balance.

The impasse would have kept legislators in special session until a budget was passed. It also would have cost taxpayers more money.

It would have been a gutsy move on the part of those senators and it only now is coming to light. Only once has the Senate deposed a sitting president pro tem, according to the Tribune.

Richard, known for his candid style, was one of few willing to speak to the Tribune on the record about the meeting and the near public power struggle.

“You don’t do those things lightly,” Richard told the Tribune.

We appreciate his role in getting the budget passed.

Some of the factions in the Senate should be resolved by next year, if for no other reason than term-limit turnover.

But, we expect there will be those on both sides of the aisle who will forget they are working to bring about solutions.

Missourians deserve better than what they got in the past session.