Governor's policies

Sunday, June 10, 2007

After years of fiscal shortages, the state has paid off its federal unemployment insurance debt, thanks to the policies and commitment of Gov. Matt Blunt. The debt was incurred during 2003 and 2004 when the state was in the midst of a $1.1 billion budget deficit. With fiscal policies firmly in place, the state recently paid more than $135 million to mark the end of an insolvent fund that pays benefits to unemployed workers.

The Missouri Department of Labor paid the debt four months before the end of the federal fiscal year, saving Missouri taxpayers $2,205,688 in interest charges.

Factors that restored the fund to solvency included better management, legislative changes and an improving economy. Missouri has repaid $288 million to the federal government since January 2005. The governor's pro-jobs, pro-growth policies have spurred the state's economic growth.

The governor supported significant litigation and workers' compensation reforms and signed the Quality Jobs Act, which is making Missouri a leading job creator. Since January 2005, Missouri employers have created nearly 100,000 new jobs.

The Missouri Department of Labor will continue to monitor the solvency of the unemployment compensation fund to prevent future shortfalls that negatively impact Missouri's economy.

A new national index shows that this administration's vision for promoting innovation and entrepreneurship is coming to fruition. The annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity reports that while entrepreneurial activity in the Midwest is declining, it is expanding in Missouri.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which conducts the national study that measures business startup activity for the United States, reports that Missouri increased its entrepreneurial activity rate to 0.25 percent from 0.19 percent in 2005. The rate indicates that the state has 250 entrepreneurs for every 100,000 people.

According to a separate ranking, Inc. magazine earlier this month ranked Springfield, Mo., the No. 20 midsized area for its job growth and called it a "hotbed" of entrepreneurial activity.

This economic activity, combined with the creation of nearly 100,000 jobs, shows once again success in helping improve the quality of life for Missourians. -- State newsletter

I expect the above two comments will generate a response from the Missouri Budget Project, which has had nothing good to say about anything achieved by Governor Blunt and Republican legislature (and which recently responded to one of my columns).

This group is one of a number of more liberal groups (though there are some moderates on its board) that John Hancock's is reporting as a recipient of the Missouri Foundation for Health (more than $1 billion in assets, distributing approximately $50 million a year) grants for allegedly health-related causes.

The Missouri Budget Project has received more than $700,000 in grants.

Hancock has put out plenty of information. Where are the media (other than Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who has written on this) who should either challenge or report his data?

Yogi Berra's second claim to fame is for being one of the most quoted figures in the sports world. He is credited with coining the deceptively simplistic observation "It ain't over till it's over." But he's also know for his flubs. Here is a collection of the most notorious of these.

"You can observe a lot just by watching."

"He must have made that before he died" (referring to a Steve McQueen movie).

"I'd find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I'd return it" (when asked what he would do if he found a million dollars).

"If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else."

"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him."

"You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

"A nickel isn't worth a dime today."

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

Once, Yogi's wife Carmen asked, "Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?" Yogi replied, "Surprise me."

"Do you mean now?" (when asked for the time).

"I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."

"If the fans don't come out to the ballpark, you can't stop them."

"Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel."

"You should always go to other people's funerals. Otherwise, they won't come to yours."

I've included those here to call attention to a column by St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Dan O'Neill on Berra's May 19 commencement speech at St. Louis University, which we will run later.

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

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