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State House speaker pitches priorities on Cape tour stop

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tim Jones
Missouri's Speaker of the House, Tim Jones, R-Eureka, outlined a three-part priority plan for the upcoming legislative session Monday when he stopped at My Daddy's Cheesecake in Cape Girardeau to meet with local legislators and the public.

Jones' appearance was part of a multiday tour this week through 21 Missouri cities where the representative is pitching his "Triple E Plan" of economic development, energy and education issues. He hopes the issues will be addressed when the Missouri House and Senate return for their regular session in January.

He spoke in support of legislation he said would reform the state's tax credit system, remove regulation from businesses, place caps on amounts paid in medical malpractice lawsuits and give control of education to local communities. Jones also brought up the possible future use of bonds for infrastructure improvements.

Jones will work with a veto-proof Republican majority in the state legislature during the 2013 session.

He called Monday's topics a "broad overview of what I think the challenges are that are facing our state and our legislature, and some of the things we are going to be working on."

Specifics for addressing each of the issues in the plan are not yet complete, according to Jones, and the agenda is not all-encompassing. But he did discuss legislation prefiled in the Senate that he said would have some effect on economic development and job creation, particularly tax credit reform, tax deductions for business income and corporate income tax reduction.

"Reducing taxes where we can is going to be a top priority," he said.

Jones said he expects a coalition of people will work health-care tort reform in the upcoming session -- something he said would benefit Missouri because of the size of the state's health-care industry and its significance to the economy. He referenced reforms put in place by former governor Matt Blunt and the state legislature, which he said were largely thrown out by the Missouri Supreme Court last summer. The result is fiercer competition between Missouri and Kansas to draw medical businesses.

"That's something we are going to have to act on very quickly, and, to me, that has everything to do with job creation and job retention here in the state in our health care industry, which is one of the largest," he said.

The Kansas Supreme Court in October upheld caps on medical malpractice damages while Missouri's struck them down.

On the state's tax credit system, the cost of which has long been a point of contention in the legislature, Jones said he believes that a balance can be struck through a process of "cut, cap and create." He said he wants to cut several dozen tax credit programs that are underused; cap others for "budget certainty;" and at the same time create new programs as long as they are "fiscally smart and taxpayer friendly."

Jones called the current plan for addressing energy issues a "little vague," but said he would like to see the state still qualify for some federal funding to build more nuclear reactors and separately become a manufacturer and exporter of small modular nuclear reactors.

For education, Jones said he wants more business owners engaged in workforce training so as not to lose Missouri students to other areas of the country; a better balance in the relationship between funding and school and teacher performance; and more local control and stepped-up involvement from parents.



Pertinent address:

265 S. Broadview St., Cape Girardeau, MO

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I wish the Speaker had endorsed the Medicaid program which even conservative groups say will definitely create 24,000 jobs and infuse an additional $8.2B into the state's economy. Cutting taxes to attract industry appears to be a bogus argument, because we already have one of the lowest corporate rates, in addition to the elimination last year of the corporate franchise tax.

-- Posted by MartyWalsh on Mon, Dec 10, 2012, at 8:49 PM

Enslaving our unborn grandchildren to another $8.2B in Federal debt to create 24,000 jobs for workers that will task themselves with adding more people to the government dole to be slaves to the Federal teat sounds a lot like... ...um... ...slavery.

-- Posted by bbollmann on Mon, Dec 10, 2012, at 9:47 PM

If this expansion of Medicaid works like other programs, the federal government will change the terms in its favor, and against the interests of the states. I can almost hear the (unelected) Obamacare czar now... "Who said Washington would pay for 100% of the cost? We've always said 90% would be the maximum federal portion, except in years in which we pay 80%. Of course, this year, we'll only pay 70%, but next year we hope to pay 60%. Unless Republicans vote for higher taxes, we'll pay no more than 50%, or maybe 35%. Of course, since Missouri voted against Obamacare and Obama, we'll probably lower the federal portion to 10%, and force you to pay the other 90%. Isn't the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act great?"

-- Posted by wbowen on Tue, Dec 11, 2012, at 8:12 AM

wbowen: Is this the same kind of crap we will hear if you are on the council? Also, will you be a spendthrift like the other council members? What exactly will be your agenda? Be specific, please.

-- Posted by left turn on Tue, Dec 11, 2012, at 8:20 AM

Don't forget about that wonderful $63/person tax that we'll start paying in 2014 so people can go to the Emergency Room for free instead of having to pay for their trip once their healthy again.


-- Posted by bbollmann on Tue, Dec 11, 2012, at 9:59 AM

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