The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 16, 2012

Susan Redden: Budget responsibilities grow for Rep. Flanigan

By Susan Redden
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — An announcement by Speaker Tim Jones appointing members to Missouri House of Representatives appropriations committees might suggest that Rep. Tom Flanigan is getting out of a lot of work.

Quite the opposite.

Flanigan, R-Carthage, is surrendering his post as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee on Health, Mental Health and Senior Services, but only because he is now vice chairman of the House Budget Committee.

The appointment also puts him in line to be chairman of the Budget Committee, starting in 2014.

The appropriations committees act as subcommittees for the Budget Committee. Flanigan said he’ll be attending meetings of all six appropriations panels. In addition to health, mental health and senior services, the appropriations committees focus on state spending for education, general administration, public safety and corrections, transportation and economic development, and agriculture and natural resources.

Flanigan said he’ll give up memberships on several other committees because of increased demands on his time for work on the budget.

He will remain on the House Interim Committee on Budget Transparency, the House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, the Special Standing Committee on Redistricting, and the Second Capital Commission.

Flanigan said that since his appointment last July as vice chairman of the budget panel, he’s been putting together information for members of the House appropriations committees. He said the data includes definitions of terms, some history of work by the panels and information on issues that often come before each of the committees. In total, 95 members of the House are involved in the appropriations procedure, he said .

“If you’re a new member, you need to know these things,” he said “This will help people get started in their work on the committees.”

Flanigan said this type of background is particularly important in these days of term limits, which limit the ability of lawmakers to gain a long-term perspective on budget issues.

“Before, people had time to learn,” he said. “With term limits, you have to get people up to speed so they can make the best use of their time.”

Flanigan said he expects to confer at least twice a week with the chairmen of the appropriations committees. He said his office will issue press releases on budget activities, the status of state spending and the progress of House budget bills.

In other appropriations appointments, Jones named Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, to the House Appropriations Committee on Education, and Rep. Bill Reiboldt, Neosho, to the House Appropriations Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Weigh in

On the federal front, most of the “fiscal cliff” discussions we’re hearing about are between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. But other members of Congress also are weighing in, and, if you want, you can share your opinions with your representatives.

Here’s some addresses and phone numbers:

• U.S. Rep. Billy Long of Missouri, 1541 Longworth HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515; phone 202-225-6536.

• U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, 1122 Longworth HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515; phone 202-225-6601.

• U.S. Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, 2447 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515; phone 202-225-2701.

SUSAN REDDEN is a staff writer for the Globe. She can be reached at sredden@joplinglobe.com or 417-623-3480, ext. 7258. Follow her on Twitter @Susan_Redden.