• Bill Federer and Ann Wagner

    On today’s episode, I interview William J Federer, one of America’s most prominent historians. Bill is also a prolific writer and has authored more than 20 books. He ran for congress in St. Louis and even visited my office in Missouri’s Capitol when I was in the legislature.

    You can sign up for Bill’s daily e-mail, The American Minute at www.americanminute.com

    As a bonus at the end of this episode, I share some remarks made by my representative in the U. S. Congress with my own commentary inserted. We do this to help you hear and think about what is in those sound bites.

  • Withholding the Money

    This photo was taken while I was  speaking to the body of House Members in the House Chamber. I served under a Democratic Governor, then a Republican Governor, than a Democratic Governor. We had a lot of moments of political wrangling  while I was there.
    This photo was taken while I was speaking to the body of House Members in the House Chamber. I served under a Democratic Governor, then a Republican Governor, then a Democratic Governor. We had a lot of moments of political wrangling while I was there.

    Party political wrangling can be ugly. One side will desperately try to find ways to make the other side look bad. Partisan operatives then showcase themselves and make sure the voters know how much better it is to always vote for their party brand, regardless of the particular candidate. This is how they build brand loyalty.

    One of my friends told me that both Republicans and Democrats spend about the same amount of money. It’s just where they spend it that differs. The party in control will tend to reflect the priorities of their party. Democrats tend to like more social welfare programs and Republicans tend to like more corporate welfare programs. Regardless of the rhetoric you hear during the campaign season, the budget continues to grow every year.

    Bob Holden was a Democratic Governor when I was first elected and he had to “work” with a Republican majority. The Governor used his Constitutional prerogative to withhold money from public education due to a budget shortfall. During the State of the State speech, the Speaker Pro-Tem, Rod Jetton, had heard enough blaming and yelled out, “Release the money, Governor!”

    Amendment # 10, which is on your ballot in November, is more about partisan wrangling over who will control the purse strings. It contains a mix of good and bad together. If you mix a good idea with the right amount of bad ideas, everyone has a reason to vote for it or against it. You will not feel the effects of this either way. Here’s the question:

    Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?

    Here’s some background information:
    Missouri Gubernatorial Budgetary Recommendations

  • Expectations Of Your Legislature

    In Nashville, Tennessee for the National Religious Broadcasters Convention.
    In Nashville, Tennessee for the National Religious Broadcasters Convention.

    Recently, the St. Louis Post Dispatch did an editorial lamenting the diminishing quantity of content available for their news articles now that Brian Nieves, Jane Cunningham and I are leaving public office.     It’s amazing that I could be out of office for three years and they still take time to express their gratitude for my contributions as a gold mine for their political reference materials.

    We expect our elected officials to be more knowledgeable than most average citizens.  However, many of them are not.  They are just people like us who were able to win an election.  A few of the newsletters I received this week were so philosophically conflicted, I knew these legislators were merely repeating the dictates of their political party instead of actually thinking through their comments.

  • State Legislation – With Missouri State Representative Kurt Bahr


    Are there shennanigans in the State?  Join us for a fascinating discussion of the innerworkings of the 2013 legislative session  with Missouri State Representative Kurt Bahr.  This was the first year Missouri had a session with a Super-majority of Republicans in both the House and Senate.  Rep. Bahr will offer some analysis and thoughts on what to expect for the upcoming veto session.

  • Legislative Results of the 2012 Session

    Want to guess?  Government grew Bigger

    TPaine1Last week I attended the State Committee meeting in Columbia.  During the meeting I gave a brief overview of the legislative session.  Now that the dust has settled, it is clearer than ever.   Despite the fact that self identified “Conservatives” are in control of the legislature, our government continues to increase in size and intrusiveness every year.  This year was no exception.

    Many legislators try to justify their actions by claiming they have great reasons for voting to increase the expense and encroachment of government.  I know from spending eight years in the legislature how easy it is to follow the crowd while the taxpayers end up getting the shaft and the tab.  As a result, most bills now headed to the governor’s desk are unconstitutional, make government bigger, more oppressive, more expensive or are a waste of paper because the problem they seek to correct is already addressed in current law.  Additionally, the unintended consequences usually set off a new chain of foibles.

  • The Budget

    Is it about money or philosophy?

    At the Camden County Tea Party with some great fellow patriots, Ike Skelton and his wife.

    While many candidates run on the promise of making government more fit, trim and live within its means, the actions show to the contrary.  The House and Senate have finished their preliminary work on the state budget, and the end result is still more spending than ever before.  At the time I was first elected to the legislature in 2002, the budget was around $18 billion.  This year, it is around $24 billion.  How does that happen if the Republicans are in control, and most of them told the voters they would pare down our bloated government?  Although Democrats are in a severe minority, they should go home happy because they succeeded in keeping much of the excessive governmental spending.  It’s kind of like going on a diet that only lasts until you discover you have to give up doughnuts, ice cream and french fries.  If you have the stomach for it, “click here” if you want to read the story behind the broken promises to be financially prudent.

    This process of waiting until the last week to work out a budget formed around bad decisions, forces the legislators to hurriedly pass the budget as they are constrained to do so before the adjournment on May 18th.  These budgets also give us a glimpse into the priorities of the legislature.