Snow vacation

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jo Mannies, St. Louis Beacon online political reporter (and former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter) posted the following on her Web page last Thursday:"[Gov. Jay] Nixon and his wife have missed this week's snow, as they have been quietly in Florida all week on vacation.

"A spokesman said Thursday that the governor will be back in the state capital by Saturday.

"Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's staff said he had received no notification of the governor's whereabouts, until the 'rumor mill' began erupting Thursday. The Beacon's call was 'the first official confirmation,' said Kinder spokesman Gary McElyea.

"Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said the governor and his staff had seen no need for any notification to Kinder, or any public announcement that he was out of state, because 'the governor is still performing the duties of his office.'

"Kinder, a Republican, has been complaining since last spring that Nixon, a Democrat, has been ignoring him and rarely communicates."

I understand that Kinder has sent a number of letters to Governor Nixon to discuss the status of Tour de Missouri cycling race and other subjects and has offered to meet with Nixon to discuss state legislation and the status of the budget with no success to date.

With Republican majorities in the Missouri House and Senate, I would hope there would be more communication. House budget chairman Alan Icet has also indicated no meetings, although he has requested them.

Nixon or one of his staff did apparently meet with Senate budget chairman Rob Meyer from Dexter and Icet to agree on a consensus revenue budget.

No one has said that these are easy times for any administration to deal with the budget while facing reduced revenue and entering the last year of proposed federal stimulus money currently being used to fill the gaps. You might not like all of the players on your basketball or football team, but we expect you to pass to them sometime if you want a victorious outcome. You are all on the same team called Missouri state government.

The Heartland Institute recently issued a memorandum, "Impact of Health Care Reform on Premiums":

"I'm writing to bring to your attention an important piece of research describing the effect proposed federal health care reform legislation would have on health insurance premiums in your state. This legislation would increase premiums for most consumers in your state.

"Experts at WellPoint, the largest commercial health benefits company in the United States, recently calculated the effect of health care reform on several states, including Missouri. The study found that 70 percent of small businesses would face higher premiums under the proposed reform plan. In Missouri:

"n Young and healthy Missourians would see premiums rise 178 percent if they buy health insurance in the individual market and 89 percent if they are insured by an employer in the small group market.

"n Average aged people of average health would see their premiums rise 106 percent in the individual market and 17 percent in the small group market.

"n Older and less healthy people would see their rates fall 17 percent in the individual market and 26 percent in the small group market.

"Americans are being told by the Obama administration that health care reform is necessary to reduce the cost of health care. However, the so-called 'health care reform' Democrats in Congress want to pass and have the president sign would actually increase costs dramatically!"

The musical "Carousel" is coming to the River Campus Feb. 24 to 28. This performing arts center production is promising a don't-miss event if it ranks with Southeast Missouri State University's previous musicals.

In a recent St. Louis "College" insert of all universities, Southeast featured the River Campus as the Midwest's only stand-alone music, theater, dance and art center.

One of the campus' biggest assets is artist in residence and vocal instructor Judith Farris, who was featured in American Theater Magazine as one of the top music voice teachers in New York. Farris goes there every month and gives 30 private voice lessons. She was quoted in the magazine.

A lot of nuts-and-bolts effort is being made by Southeast, Three Rivers Community College and Mineral Area Community College to be able to offer courses at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center this fall. It's no easy task.

The next full committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

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