With snow on the ground and more snow to come, it is a sure sign that Session is here. Once again, it is time to begin driving back and forth to Jefferson City to represent the 131st District. This will be my last session in the House of Representatives and it looks to be one of the more stressful ones since we are charged with balancing the budget once again with revenue down over 7%.
In addition to making tough budget decisions, we will be tackling other controversial issues including ethics reform. We are approaching this reform with three goals:
· It must be fair.
· It must be comprehensive.
· It must be effective.
Two ideas that have been discussed are prohibiting any political donations being made to the Governor by any entity which has a pending decision before an executive department or decision-making body; and, prohibiting political contributions to the Governor, Speaker of the House or President Pro Tempore of the Senate by any entity seeking or receiving Senate approval for a compensated appointment.
State sovereignty is an issue that will be making headlines this year as the federal government seems to be encroaching further and further onto the states. I know many of the Representatives are interested in sending the Governor something to sign that will send Washington a clear message that we retain our 10th Amendment rights.
I plan to get right to work on property tax reform. My constituents have asked for assistance in this matter and I hope to make some headway with reforms. There will be strong opposition from taxing entities that want more spending money each year. I plan to fight that opposition and help find other avenues to fund their growing needs. There is no intent to reduce any funding source, but rather to find a way to be fair to all. Our senior citizens have already paid their dues. Let’s give them some relief and allow them to retain enough of their savings or social security to enjoy a few years of their retirement. There is no excuse for pricing the elderly out of their own homes. It is time a change is made!
This year, the legislative session begins Wednesday, January 6th, and will run through Friday, May 14th. We will be in session Monday through Thursday each week with one week of recess in March. The budget must be passed by May 7th. I encourage everyone to visit Jefferson City while we are in session to see your state government at work.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Ruestman: Session looks to be stressful
In her latest column, Rep. Marilyn Ruestman says this year's legislative session, which begins tomorrow: is looking like a stressful one: