Plus: DST, 'Carousel,' latest book, Tenholder award

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I visited Jefferson City last week for a Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Missouri Press Association gathering.

Certainly as to the state budget there is no disagreement that there is little light at the end of the tunnel.

All of those lobby groups that are normally clamoring for more money from the limited state dollars are having to focus on limiting cuts to previous allocations. And the budget will be in even worse shape next year. Unlike the federal government, which is ignoring the deficit, most states have to spend within their income and cannot deficit spend.

The Missouri budget has now used two years of federal stimulus money, which is currently scheduled to end this year.

Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican majority in the Missouri House and Senate are trying to work their way through this situation in a rational way.

It's up to us in the news media to not report only in a political context. We're all in this together, and because of previous conservative budget decisions Missouri is in better shape than 90 percent of the other states.

This is serious, and the political activities on the federal level threaten the fiscal integrity of the United States. Please pay attention. This is not business as usual.

I heard the leaders of the House and Senate, the budget director, Governor Nixon and an enlightening presentation on the importance of the census and threats to the integrity of the numbers.

It's always good to see many friends and to refresh memories of my six years in the legislature over 25 years ago.

Little has changed as to issues, but the much larger budget, pension shortfalls, public employee union and similar political personalities always makes this a deja-vu trip.

Rush Limbaugh Sr. (for whom the Cape Girardeau federal courthouse is named) shared his diary with me describing some of the legislation and issues during his two years in the legislature in 1931-1932. They were basically the same issues of education, government service and similar abrasive personalities (my words -- Limbaugh was always a gentleman) that one finds most reported by the news media today.

I'm ready for daylight saving time, which begins March 14. I'm also ready for the warmer weather, flowers, bird calls and tree leaves, which are all starting to push their way into our observance. My wife Wendy will be surprised that I'm noticing.

The musical classic "Carousel" is featured tonight through Sunday, and the almost professional Southeast Missouri State University students have been on an over-60-hours-a-week schedule in sharpening up the show.

New microphones, costumes and sets will enhance the performances. Tickets are still available.

It's my job to read and keep up with current events -- not necessarily always pleasing or satisfying. I've started the best seller "Game Change" about the 2008 primary and general election. It's probably more than I want to know about the behind-the-scenes events of the "race of a lifetime."

Congratulations to Mike Tenholder, the head of our company's Instaprint/Concord Printing Division for winning the Silver Medal Award. Mike helped start the Tri-State Advertising and Marketing Professionals group and was instrumental in revitalizing it during some lean years. We've worked together for over 30 years. He is a gentleman leader who deserves this recognition from his peers.

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

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