We are at a significant turning point in our nation regarding our economic future and there is a lot of concern among hard-working folks about what it means for our families and our communities. Much of the concern stems from the notion of the fiscal cliff, in which significant automatic tax increases and automatic spending cuts go into effect in early January of 2013 if nothing is done. The notion of this fiscal cliff has job creators and the financial markets spooked and many predicting that, if this cliff is not avoided, our economy as well as economies across the globe could be in for an economic collapse not seen since the Great Depression.
While all eyes seem to be focused on the January deadlines, I felt it was important to remind you that remedies to this fiscal cliff have already been placed on the table and are awaiting action by the Senate. In fact, these options have been on the table for months and seek to avoid a situation orchestrated by the White House and its allies.
The bottom line is that House Republicans remain the only people in Washington so far with an actual plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. The president says he disagrees with our plan, but we have yet to see the specifics of any solution he may propose.
In May, 2012, a majority of my collegues in the House of Representatives and I voted in favor of the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act (SRAA), which would replace the $78 billion in automatic defense spending cuts that would be part of the fiscal cliff currently in place with responsible reductions to other federal programs. The SRAA offsets the automatic across the board cuts scheduled to take place due to a process known as sequestration , and the Congressional Budget Office indicates that the bill will result in $242.8 billion in deficit reduction over 10 years. And on August 2, 2012, the House passed the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act of 2012 that would block the impending tax hikes on all Americans and small businesses and the Pathway to Job Creation through a Simpler, Fairer Tax Code Act of 2012 that would set the stage for a simpler, fairer, pro-growth tax code through long-term tax reform.
But here we are folks because the Senate and the White House refuse to even consider this legislation. Instead, we are being bombarded by rhetoric tarnished by class warfare politics that has placed our nation on the precipice of economic calamity. According to Ernst & Young, we’ll have 710,000 fewer jobs if the president’s tax hikes go into effect in January. If all the scheduled tax increases occur, the federal government will take another $500 billion per year from families and businesses.
As you have made clear to me over the last four years, you do not want your taxes raised. You understand, as I do, that these tax increases will punish small businesses, slow our economy, and make it even harder to balance the budget and get people back to work.
And let’s not kid ourselves. In order to address our debt and spending problems, we have to continue to try and trim government by rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse, but we also must reform entitlement programs if we want to save them so they are around for future generations, something that the president and Senate have thus far refused to do. In fact, last year alone, 65 percent of federal spending was for payments to individuals and since 1975, federal spending has grown nearly 10 times faster than the median household income. Our economy is now smaller than our national debt and that’s a serious problem we need to solve.
Time is growing short. We have bills on the table for the Senate and the president to consider. They’ve had months to do so and it’s not right for them to try and play a game of political chicken with the lives of hard-working Americans. My House colleagues and I have offered concrete solutions as a starting point for avoiding higher taxes and devastating cuts to our military. So far, we have been met with silence. The president has spent the last six months talking about moving the country forward, but the only thing we’re moving nearer to is the fiscal cliff. It should never have come to this.
Hopefully, you and your family had a blessed Thanksgiving, and will continue to truly give thanks for all blessings to come.
One of the blessings this office has had is the pleasure of a friendly and professional Legislative Assistant to serve you. All the constituents who contacted my office in Jefferson City during the last six years were assisted by Clara Stephenson. Last week, she retired and we will all surely miss her in Jefferson City as well as in Lincoln County. However, I am pleased to announce that Mary Rademan has joined our staff. Mary has almost 40-years of experience in the Legislature and will be happy to serve the constituents of the new 41st District, and anyone else in the Lincoln County area. Please feel free to contact our office if you, or your family, have any questions or issues that we may address.
I am still looking for ideas of laws that need to be changed, or new laws that would help Missourians. Please feel free to contact our office with your ideas and concerns.
The Missouri Supreme Court on Nov. 13 unanimously upheld the constitutionality of a 2010 state law that allows veteran St. Louis city firefighters to live elsewhere, despite a provision a of the city charter that requires most municipal employees to reside within the city limits. The law at issue was passed at the behest of St. Louis firefighters and allows employees of any fire department to live outside the department’s jurisdiction if the employee has worked for the department for at least seven years and if the local school district is or has been unaccredited or provisionally unaccredited.
The 6-0 decision reversed Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem’s earlier ruling that the law unconstitutionally violated the city’s right to “home rule” under the Missouri Constitution, as well as the equal protection clauses of the state and federal constitutions. In an opinion written by Judge Laura Denvir Stith, the Supreme Court said Beetem erred in determining that the state constitution grants charter cities broad freedom from legislative control and further erred in finding equal protection violations.
The high court, however, did uphold a portion of Beetem’s ruling that found the statute wasn’t an unconstitutional “special law” that applied only to one jurisdiction without adequate cause, since the statute applies any fire department that has a residency requirement and shares jurisdiction with an unaccredited or provisionally accredited school district and not just the St. Louis department.
As of Jan. 1, 2013 Missouri’s standard minimum wage will increase from $7.25 an hour to $7.35 an hour, the Missouri Department of Labor announced on Nov. 9. Under a state law approved by Missouri voters in 2006, the state minimum wage is adjusted annually for inflation. The upcoming hike reflects a 1.3 percent inflationary adjustment.
If the federal minimum wage is higher than what the state minimum would otherwise be, Missouri follows the federal rate. The pending 10-cent increase will mark the first time the state minimum wage in Missouri has been the higher of the two since July 2009 when the current federal rate was set at $7.25 an hour and superseded the state’s rate, which at the time had been $7.10 an hour.
As always, I respect your trust and value your advice, comments and questions. Let me know how I may serve you and your family. Please call me at (573) 751-9459, toll free at (855) 285-3781, locally at (636) 299-3270 or (636) 462-7295. If you wish to fax my office, our fax number is 573-522-0411. You may e-mail me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.